Kerryn keeps husbands memory alive

PROTECT YOURSELF: Kerryn Meanwell from SunProtection Australia shows off some of the sun-safe clothes designed by her business.
PROTECT YOURSELF: Kerryn Meanwell from SunProtection Australia shows off some of the sun-safe clothes designed by her business. Jann Burmester

LESS than two years after her husband Warren died from a melanoma, Kerryn Meanwell's Byron Bay business is setting new standards in quality sun protection clothing.

SunProtection Australia is leading the way in its range of sun-safe apparel which is supplied to the Cancer Council, as well as being endorsed by the Melanoma Institute Australia through sales of the business's Coolamon Sport range.

"I'm proud to be carrying on the business in honour of Warren and to educate people on the harmful effects of the sun," Kerryn said.

"Our range of leisure and resort wear for women, men's and children's ranges, sporting and corporate wear not only looks fantastic, but has a maximum UPF 50+.

"The new fabrics we are now using are lightweight, breathable, don't fade, are durable and look stylish, and our new hat, the ultimate Adapt-A-Cap, which will be available in October is the latest chapter in our story."

That story began in 1994 in Brisbane, when Warren and Kerryn established the business selling UV protection hats on the east coast of Australia.

It took off and in 2000 the business took a new direction, incorporating a range of sun protection clothes for the family, including shorts, gloves, hats, pants, polos, rash vests, sporting and corporate wear and a range of hoodies for kids and teenagers.

But, in June 2006, Warren, a typical bronzed Aussie who loved to surf and sail, noticed a mole on his ankle the size of a match head.

It was a melanoma and it was aggressive.

By November 2006, the cancer had spread to Warren's lymph nodes in his groin and he underwent a series of operations.

In 2009, Warren and Kerryn decided to travel to Germany where more treatments were on offer for melanoma patients.

"The hypothermic treatment, combined with special nutrition, did in the end give Warren an extra 12 months," Kerryn said.

"But in 2010 the cancer came back and Warren was given six to nine months to live."

"So we decided to take our kids, Lara and Matty, back to Germany for more treatment and for a four-month family trip around Europe.

"The trip was a very special time in our lives, but Warren died in December 2010, aged 49."

After Warren died, Kerryn was going to sell the business, but once "the dust settled" and the kids went back to school, she decided to continue.

"Warren was just so passionate, I just had to keep it going," Kerryn said.

"Within 18 months of his death, I've now got a new fabric, a niche market and a manufacturing base in Fiji and China."

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