The 2015 March Against Melanoma™ will kick off at 9am on Sunday 1 March from the Pillars of Wisdom in the Kings Domain Gardens along Alexandra Avenue. Registration and kit collection will commence at 8am. This year's kit includes; 2015 event sports t-shirt, bucket hat, wrist band, pen, sunscreen and much more.
Marchers will have the option of completing a 2km or 4km walk, or an 8km run around the Tan Track.
The March is both pram and wheelchair friendly. We encourage Marchers to join us post-March for a remembrance service to celebrate those who have lost their lives to melanoma. Along with the remembrance service, there will also be a short presentation ceremony, food vendors, and other entertainment. Alternatively, you may want to pack a picnic.
More information on how to get to the March can be found below.
Kings Domain, The Tan Track
The 2015 March Against Melanoma will be held at the Tan Track in Kings Domain Gardens, which are part of the Domain Parklands, bordered by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Government House Reserves and the Shrine of Remembrance. The March will start at the Pillars of Wisdom, located on Alexandra Avenue between Anderson Avenue and the Swan Street Bridge.
On street parking is available on Alexandra Avenue, Linlithgow Avenue, and Birdwood Avenue, however parking restrictions do apply.
There are also two commercially operated public car parks, located at Olympic Park and the National Tennis Centre along Olympic Boulevard only a short walk away.
For an easy stress-free option, Marchers are encouraged to catch public transport.
Flinders Street Station is the closest train station to the March. From Flinders Street, Marchers can take a tram along St Kilda Road and then walk a short distance, through the park, to the start/finish line at the Pillars of Wisdom. Tram routes 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 & 72 all travel down St Kilda Road, and we recommend Marchers disembark at Grant Street (Stop #17).
Please see the Public Transport Victoria website for more information on routes and timetables.
Without the generous support of our many volunteers, the March Against Melanoma™ would not be possible. As well as providing the practical support we need on the day, our volunteers help to create an inspiring atmosphere that is shared by all.
If you are unable to March, volunteering is fun and a rewarding way to get involved in the spirit of the day, it means you can still help raise awareness and funds to support our fight against melanoma!
This year, we are also offering volunteers the opportunity to get on board with our fundraising efforts. After all why should Marchers have all the fun? Volunteers will be given their own personal fundraising page.
Some examples of roles for volunteers include:
- Event set up and pack down
- Spectator services
If you would like to volunteer for the 2015 March Against Melanoma, or would like more information on what is involved, please fill in the contact form here and we will be in touch as soon as we can. Register your interest today.
This year's event will see the site lit up in brightly coloured ribbon. The inaugural ribbon tying ceremony will honour those affected by skin cancer and melanoma. Look out for volunteers armed with pens and ribbons and get ready to share your message of love, hope and support. Together we will remember those lost and fight for those affected.
The MARCH for MELANOMA campaign was initiated in Melbourne in 2007 by the Emily Tapp Melanoma Foundation in honour of lost loved ones. The event was established to help raise awareness about melanoma and skin cancer in addition to providing support for survivors.
In 2007 and 2008, the Foundation had the support of the Western Bulldogs Football Club (AFL) and in 2008 and 2009 also gained the support of Julia Morris (Actor & Comedian) for the event. The 2010 MARCH for MELANOMA was dedicated to women impacted by melanoma. In 2011 the March focused on men and melanoma. In 2012 the 6th annual MARCH for MELANOMA relocated to Catani Gardens at St Kilda, where an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a 4km walk and 8km run in perfect conditions.
In 2013, Louise White, founder of the Emily Tapp Foundation, asked the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc to run the March Against Melanoma™. Upon completion of the 2013 March, a remembrance service was held followed by presentations and a FREE Mela.No.More concert featuring local acts and entertainment.
The 2014 March Against Melanoma™ was a huge success, with 1500 marchers, beautiful weather and brilliant entertainment. As part of the post-March event, Lucy Durack, from WICKED, and Gretel Scarlett, from Grease, sang a moving rendition of ‘For the Good’, followed by rocking performances by Alex & the Shy Lashlies and Eran James.
In the past, money raised from the March has been used to fund education and research into melanoma, its causes, and treatments. This has included helping to fund a youth and melanoma research project being conducted out of the Prince Alfred Hospital by the Victorian Melanoma Service and Professor John Kelly. A separate project which analyses the effects of occupational sunlight exposure in the development of non-melanoma skin cancers in the Australian population has also been established.
Terms & Conditions
As with any event like the March Against Melanoma, there are Terms & Conditions. See our T&Cs here.
Make it Personal
For your fundraising page to be effective, it needs to be personalised. To really make your personalised fundraising page stand out, try adding a photo and sharing your story/the story of someone cloe to you affected by melanoma.
Share your story by explaining what has motivated you to raise money and why you are passionate about fighting against melanoma. Or, if you are Marching in tribute to the memory of someone close to you, or is currently battling with melanoma, you can use your personalised profile to tell us their story.
Form a Team
What better way to enjoy the March, than with a group of colleagues, family and/or friends. Get everyone involved by forming a team and get competitive to help your team make it onto our fundraising leader board. Use the email template found here, to invite others to join your team and help in the fight against melanoma.
Set a Fundraising Target
Raise as much as you possibly can for the melanoma education and research by setting an ambitious, but achievable target. Your friends and family might surprise you with how deep they are willing to dig to help you reach your goal.
Invite Others to Your Team
Emailing friends, family and colleagues is the easiest and most effective way to invite people to join your team. And it works! If you are stuck for ideas, start by using this e-mail template to ask them to join you in your March Against Melanoma. Remember to personalise the email with a link to your personal fundraising page and your March story. This will ensure people know why you are so passionate about raising funds to help find a cure for melanoma.
Email Everyone You Know
Emailing friends, family and colleagues is the easiest and most effective ways to raise funds. And it works! If you are stuck for ideas, start by using the e-mail template ask them to support you in your March Against Melanoma. Make sure people know why you are so passionate about raising funds to help find a cure for melanoma. Remember to personalise the email with a link to your personal fundraising page and your March story.
There are other e-mail templates to choose from too. See e-mail template 2 and e-mail template 3. Personalise the wording to suit you and make sure you keep it real with links to your personal fundraising page. Check it carefully, then send those emails off to your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. You'll be surprised at how many will want to help you.
Tweet & Share
Spread the word! Use the links to tell the world you've registered and invite others to do so.
But don't stop there, remind your friends and family about your commitment to the March Against Melanoma.
- Get friends and followers to sponsor you by linking to your fundraising page
- Encourage others to sign up by linking to the registration page
- Create a facebook event and invite your friends
- Support our cause by changing your profile photo to the event logo. (Download the image here)
Talk About It
Whether it is in the lunch room, at the gym, during coffee with friends, or at home over dinner - the most effective way to spread awareness of melanoma and skin cancer is by talking about it. Take a look at our Facts and Stats to get the facts on melanoma and skin cancer, and use them as a conversation starter. You might even recruit some extra marchers for your team!
Ask The Media To Tell The World
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in taking part in media on-the-day or in the lead up to the event.
Even though people intend to donate, life is busy and it’s easy to get distracted or forget. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge to remind them to take action, so don’t feel embarrassed about sending a reminder email.
Put It In The Newsletter
Lots of workplaces encourage their staff to participate in charitable events and fundraising. Ask your employer if they are willing promote your team or fundraising efforts on the company website, intranet or company newsletter.
Your child’s school can be another great source of support. By putting an article in the school newsletter, you can invite people to join your March team or ask them to sponsor you by making a donation.
Put Up A Poster
Download a poster and put it up in the office lunch room, local supermarket, gym, library, school or anywhere else you can get permission. Use the poster to ask people to visit your personal fundraising page and support you, or ask them to make a general donation via the website. You can download an A4 poster here and just add the URL for your personalised fundraising page in the space provided.
Keep On Fundraising After The Event
A surprising number of donations are received after the March has finished, so don’t stop fundraising when the March is over.
Once you’ve finished celebrating your achievement in finishing the March, update your personalised fundraising page with the story of your success and email it to friends and family again.
It’s a great way of letting those who have supported you know that you have achieved your goal, and a great way of prompting last minute donations.
FAQ - General
Q: How far will I need to March?
A: Marchers can choose to participate in one of three distances, a 2km or 4km walk or an 8km run.
Q: How long does the March take?
A: Marchers should be able to complete the event in about one hour or less.
Q: I can’t March. Can I still be involved in the March Against Melanoma?
A: Yes! If you are unable to March you can register as a volunteer and help out on the day, for more information visit our Volunteers page. Or you can support us by making a donation here.
Q: Can I still be involved in the March Against Melanoma if I can’t attend on the day?
A: Yes, there are still lots of ways to get involved! If you can’t attend the March Against Melanoma you can organise an Outpost March Against Melanoma event, do a private March, set up a team, fundraise, make a donation, sponsor a Marcher, or contribute to a team’s fundraising efforts. You can also help build awareness of the March by sharing it with your friends, family and colleagues and asking them to contribute too.
Q: Will there be prizes for participating?
A: To show our appreciation, we will reward the individual or team who raise the most money to help fund research and education in our fight against melanoma.
FAQ - Registration
Q: How do I register for the March Against Melanoma?
A: Click the relevant registration button on the right-side panel of this page for the March Against Melanoma and follow the steps. Upon completion of your registration, a confirmation email will be sent to your nominated account to confirm your registration. If you do not receive an email, please contact us (via email)
Q: Does everyone have to register for the March Against Melanoma?
A: We encourage everyone who would like to attend the March to register. This allows us to determine how many people will be attending and keep all participants up-to-date on the latest March news.
Q: Is there a fee to register for the March Against Melanoma?
A: Yes, to cover the cost of hosting the March and assist in our fundraising efforts we do charge an entry fee. However all money raised is used to fund melanoma research and education.
Q: How much does it cost to enter?
A: Registration fees to participate in the 2015 March Against Melanoma are $40 for adults and $20 for children over 12. There is no charge for children under 12 years of age.
Q: Is my registration tax deductible?
A: Unfortunately, no. Donations and funds raised (over $2) via sponsorship are tax deductible, but registrations are not. Although the registration fee does go to the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc, for tax purposes you are receiving a service through your participation in the event and thus the registration fee does not qualify as a tax deduction.
Q: I have a toddler, do they have to pay?
A: Children under 12 are very welcome to join the March. However, they are not required to pay an entry fee..
Q: When do entries close?
A: Online registrations close at 5pm on Friday, February 27, 2015. Individual registrations will be available at the March on the day for an additional fee of $10 per adult and $5 per child.
Q: Can I enter on March day?
A: Yes. While we do encourage Marchers to register as early as possible, we will allow individual Marchers to register at the March for an additional fee of $10 per adult and $5 per child.
Q: Okay, so I’ve registered, what do I do next?
A: Make sure you tell everyone you’ve registered! You can announce your registration on social media or by emailing your friends, family and colleagues. We suggest that you update your personal March page to let people know why you are so passionate about raising funds for the March Against Melanoma. Once that is done, you can use our individual sponsorship email template and include a link to your personalised fundraising page to ask to your friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you via a tax deductible donation. If you have created a team, use our team invitation email template to ask your friends, family and colleagues to join. The more people you have in your team, the more funds you will raise!
Q: How do I invite people to join my team?
A: You can use Twitter, Facebook and your own email client to invite friends, family and colleagues to join your team. To give you some ideas, we have prepared some email templates you can use in the Fundraising Tool Kit. If you would like to use these, simply download the word document and copy and paste the text into the body of your email.
Q: Can I change the distance I am registered for?
A: Yes, but you must let us know via email at email@example.com or call us on 9623 9400. If you decide to change the distance you have entered on the day, please visit the Registration Marquee near the starting line so that the change can be recorded.
Q: Can I bring a pram?
A: Prams are permitted on the March. However for safety reasons, Marchers who bring a pram will be required to start at the rear of the group.
Q: Can children register for the 8km run?
A: Children over 12 years of age can register to participate in the 8km run, but only with parental consent. For safety reasons, we cannot allow children under the age of 12 to participate in the 8km run. However, we do encourage children to get involved in the 4km or 2km walk event provided they are accompanied by an adult.
Q: Can children register and March alone?
A: No. All children under the age of 18 must be supervised by an adult throughout the duration of the event.
Q: How will I get my March Kit?
A: March Kits will be distributed on the day of the event when you report to the Registration Marquee.
Q: I can no longer participate in the March, can I get a refund?
A: Sorry, but registration fees are non-refundable. However, all money raised from the March will be used to fund melanoma research and education.
FAQ - Fundraising & Teams
Q: Do I have to fundraise?
A: Fundraising is not compulsory, but we do encourage Marchers to get involved in the fundraising side of the March. All funds raised from the March Against Melanoma help to fund vital melanoma education and research. The more money we raise, the more money we can contribute towards melanoma research and education initiatives. The better we can treat patients and the closer we can get to a cure.
Q: How can I fundraise?
A: Visit the Fundraise tab of the website for some great ideas.
Q: How do I ask people to make a donation?
A: You can use your own email system to send your friends, family and colleagues an email asking for their support. To help you, we have prepared some email templates you can use, these can be found under the Fundraise tab of the website. If you would like to use these, simply download the word document and copy and paste the text into the body of your email.
Q: How do I bank the cash I have collected?
A: If you would like to deposit funds you have raised in cash, please download the Banking & Receipt Request Form. If you would like each donation to show on your personal fundraising page, and require receipts for each donor, please complete the form in full and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Where does the money I raise go?
A: Funds raised from the March Against Melanoma goes to the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc, which is a DGR registered not for profit organisation, and is used to fund melanoma research and education.
Q: Will there be prizes for the highest fundraisers?
A: Yes. To show our appreciation of our Marchers efforts, we will reward the individual and team that raises the most funds.
FAQ - Donations
Q: Are donations tax deductible?
A: All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible. When you complete the online donation process an official receipt will be made available to print and will automatically be sent to your nominated email address. If you ever lose it, you can always log in to our website and download or print another copy.
Q: How can I donate or sponsor a Marcher?
A: Sponsorship and donations can be made in a variety of simple ways:
- Online via our Donation page using your with a Visa or Mastercard.
- To sponsor a Marcher you can make a donation directly to their fundraiser page, visit their page and click on the ‘Donate’ button.
- By cheque. Cheques are to be made out to Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc and posted to Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc, Att: MAM Donations, Lvl 1 80 Drummond St, Carlton VIC 3053. Please include your contact details along with the name of the person your donation is being made so we can list it on their personal fundraising page.
- By cash directly to the Marcher fundraising for the March Against Melanoma.
Q: How do I know if my donation was successful?
A: Shortly after you complete the donation process you will receive an official receipt to the email address you have provided. Your donation will also be listed on the page of the person you are sponsoring.
Q: Can I donate anonymously?
A: To make an anonymous online donation, simply tick the ‘I prefer to make this donation anonymously’ box when completing the online form. Anonymous donation amounts will still appear on the fundraiser’s donation page, however your name will not appear.
Q: Will I receive a receipt for an online donation?
A: When you complete the online donation, an official receipt will be made available to print and will automatically be sent to your nominated email address. If you ever lose it, you can always log in to our website and download or print another copy.
Q: Can I make an ongoing regular donation to Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc?
A: Yes, tick that box on the donations page, or call us on (03) 9623 9400..
Q: Does the site accept overseas donations?
A: Yes. Your friends, family and colleagues overseas will certainly be able to support your fundraising efforts. Just send them a link to your personal fundraising page and ask them to help!
FAQ - Event Day
Q: What date is the 2015 March Against Melanoma?
A: Sunday, March 1, 2015.
Q: What time does the 2015 March Against Melanoma start?
A: The 2015 March Against Melanoma will start at 9:00am. Participants completing the 8km run will need to arrive before 8:15am, for a 9:00am start. Participants in the 4km and 2km walks will need to arrive before 8:30am, for a 9:15am start.
Q: Where is the 2015 March Against Melanoma being held?
A: The 2015 March Against Melanoma will be held at Kings Domain Gardens and will commence from the Pillars of Wisdom which are situated along the Alexandra Avenue side of the gardens.
Q: What do I do once I arrive at the March?
A: Please report to the Registration Marquee when you arrive at the March to check in and receive your March Kit.
Q: Where do I collect my March Kit?
A: When you arrive at the March, please report to the Registration Marquee where you will be able to check in and receive your March Kit.
Q: What happens if it rains on the day of the March?
A: The March will not be cancelled due to rain, so we encourage you to pack your wet weather gear and come along. If it is extreme or dangerous weather, the March may be cancelled and this would be announced via Twitter, Facebook and on the March website.
Q: Can I bring my bicycle?
A: Bicycles are not permitted during the March Against Melanoma for safety reasons, however there are places to park your bike.
Q: Is there parking at the event?
A: On street parking is available on Alexandra Avenue, Linlithgow Avenue, and Birdwood Avenue, however parking restrictions do apply. There are also two commercially operated public car parks, located at Olympic Park and the National Tennis Centre along Olympic Boulevard only a short walk away. Marchers are encouraged to use public transport when getting to and from the event for an easy, stress-free option.
Q: What public transport options are there?
A: Flinders Street Station is the closest train station to the March. From Flinders Street, Marchers can take a tram along St Kilda Road to Kings Domain and then walk a short distance, through the park, to the start/finish line at the Pillars of Wisdom. Tram routes 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 & 72 all travel down St Kilda Road, and we recommend Marchers disembark at Grant Street (Stop #17). Please see the Public Transport Victoria website for more information on routes and timetables.
Q: Where can I leave my bag?
A: Bags can be checked in at the Registration Marquee prior to the start of the March. Please do not leave valuables in your bag. Although all care is taken, no responsibility will be accepted for lost, stolen or damaged items. Any checked items not collected on the day will be donated to charity.
Q: What do I do if I need first-aid while I am at the March?
A: First-aid will be available on the day of March at the main event area near the Pillars of Wisdom. Marchers requiring first-aid whilst participating in the March should inform one of the March Marshalls, who will be situated along the course.
Q: Will water be provided?
A: Marchers will be provided with water when they check in at the Registration Marquee. March Marshalls situated around the course will also be able to provide Marchers with water.
Q: Will there be food at the March?
A: Yes. Coffee will be available for purchase prior to the start of the March, and there will be a sausage sizzle and other food vendors, for the purchase of food and drink, at the post-March celebration.
Q: Where will toilets be located?
A: Public toilets are located along the course near the Shrine of Remembrance, at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, at the front of Government House, and along Alexandra Avenue. Temporary toilets will also be located next to the March base. If you need to use the toilet during the March, please speak to a March Marshall and they will direct you to the nearest facility.
FAQ - Technical Support
Q: What do I do if I have forgotten my username or password?
A: Visit the login page on Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc website, click on the ‘forgot your password’ and follow the prompts. Use your email address as your username.
Q: What do I do if I have a technical support question?
A: Email email@example.com with a brief description of your issue and/or question and provide a contact number for our technical support team to contact you.
by Cazz Redding and Jimmy Sides
Jimmy and I joined in the March Against Melanoma at the last minute in 2014. We heard about it on Tuesday, emailed and Facebooked our friends on Wednesday, and had about 50 friends and family turn up to join our special March against Melanoma on Sunday 2 March 2014 in memory of Jimmy’s dad and my husband John, who died from melanoma in 2009.
Given the extremely short notice, we were so touched at the amazing turnout, and the generous donations from our supporters, which raised over $1,500 for the Skin and Cancer Foundation to invest in further research into melanoma.
After our March we gathered together in the local park where John’s memorial plaque is located and enjoyed coffee and cake, swings and slides together. We all enjoyed a great morning of exercise, catching up with friends and sharing lots of stories about John.
John discovered he had advanced melanoma in November 2008, and survived another seven months, courageously undergoing major surgery, extensive radiotherapy and aggressive chemotherapy during that time, with his characteristic grin and cheeky wit never far from the surface. Jimmy was just 18 months old when John died.
If John was diagnosed today, he would have a really good chance of survival due to the amazing advances in treatment for melanoma that have been developed in the few years since he died. We are very committed to supporting further research into skin cancer to continue to improve survival chances for those diagnosed with advanced melanoma. We are also committed to spreading the message to everyone we know about the importance of protecting yourself against skin cancer and melanoma.
It was lovely to get everyone together to yell out a loud ‘JOHNNY’ whilst we were gathered around his memorial seat at the end of our March. Instead of being a sad event for us, it was lots of fun to know we were all working together to fight melanoma and celebrate John’s life in a really meaningful way.
We March in loving memory of John Edward Sides, 3 June 1968 - 30 May 2009... Forever forty.
Damian “Dards” Williams
By The Old Paradians’ Team
The ‘Old Paradians’ team was formed by a group of friends from Parade College’s class of 1999. Their mate Damian Williams (known as Dards) was diagnosed with terminal melanoma only a number of weeks before the 2013 event.
Like many teams associated with charity fundraisers, they found themselves at a loss to comprehend that their mate was facing an uphill battle, and found comfort and a sense of purpose when they didn’t know what else to do. To have Dards at the finish line in 2013 to acknowledge his friends’ support was something to be treasured.
Dards grew up like most kids in Australia; he played cricket, tennis and football and had a family holiday house at the beach. Although there was awareness about sun protection, it was not unusual for kids of his generation to be sunburnt on occasion over summer holidays and a tan was considered a sign of a fun Christmas break.
In 2004, Dards’ GP removed a mole under his hair that had grown and become itchy. Upon further tests, it was found to be a melanoma and as a precaution, a further area was removed. He was given the all clear after months of regular follow ups and we all saw it as a good early warning sign to be vigilant.
As an adult, Dards continued his love of sport and the outdoors with much of his time outside of work spent camping or at the beach. However, he was far more aware of sun protection and was never seen without his trademark hat and sunscreen.
It was a shock to find that 8 years later, the melanoma had returned. Dards underwent surgery to remove a lump on his neck and again, the outlook was positive. As is common with melanoma, it’s aggressive in its ability to spread rapidly and within three months of his surgery it had progressed to Stage 4.
Dards was willing to try anything and everything knowing he had nothing to lose. He participated in a trial treatment and was buoyed by good periods where the treatments did work. He met people along the way who have had continued success with the same trial treatments.
2014 was a different year for the Old Paradians, Dards passed away in November 2013 and we came together in memory of him. The March Against Melanoma has given us a focus and a vehicle to spread the message to raise funds for research and most importantly, increase awareness of skin cancer and melanoma. With only weeks of fundraising in the lead up each year, we raised over $10,000 in 2013 and nearly $5,000 in 2014 and hope to continue to contribute to this cause in years to come.
This is a story with a happy ending.
I know I am lucky to be telling it.
In the early summer of 2011 I was diagnosed with 'melanoma in situ'. Although the initial diagnosis was a shock, it was, as my wonderful doctor explained, the best possible bad news. “If I ever receive this diagnosis myself – this is exactly the melanoma I want to have” he told me. After the initial punch to the stomach of hearing those words “it's a melanoma”, this was a strangely reassuring thing to hear.
“We'll be seeing a lot of each other over the next couple of months, but in two years from now, you won't even remember my name,” he assured me. I hardly thought that possible, as I'd already started thinking of him as my knight in shining armour – the man who would make sure that my three lovely daughters wouldn't have to grow up without their mother. Oddly enough, he was right! My brother, who has just begun his own journey with skin cancer, recently asked me for my doctor's name and I couldn't for the life of me remember it! In that moment I realised I'd moved on and left that difficult period of my life behind me.
I am a freckled girl. Not soft, light brown sprinkles, but large dark 'splodges'. So many that it can be very hard to keep track of them all. Luckily for me, I had a vigilant and loving mother who did that for me when I was younger. I'd already had one mole removed at Mum's insistence. The biopsy came back clear. This, I think can be a danger in itself. The 'all clear' on one suspect mole can lull you into a false sense of security. Cancer had never been in the forefront of my mind. I suppose it isn't for anyone, until it happens.
When I was in high school, we were visited by a cancer survivor who came to speak at assembly. “Turn to the person on either side of you” he instructed. I looked at my two friends. “One of you will battle cancer in your lifetime.” Wow, that's a lot of people, I remember thinking. For some reason, that moment stayed with me for a long time. The memory came back to me as I sat at Liam's funeral seven years ago. He had been the boy on my left. He died of melanoma.
“Have you had that mole checked?” My melanoma was in a prominent position – the back of my neck. I will always be grateful to the many people who voiced their concern. More than any other thing, though, it was the memory of this lovely boy with so much to give the world, who became a lawyer, a comedian, a husband, a father and who did not reach the age of forty, more than any other thing, it was his memory that finally prompted me to see my GP for a referral. It was his memory, when I was told “I don't think its anything to worry about” not once, but twice by skin specialists, to go back yet again.
The third time I had the mole checked, the doctor said he would be shocked if it was anything serious. It was and he was. After it had been removed and diagnosed, I then had a more extensive 'excavation' of the skin around the site of the mole. This was followed by three monthly, then six monthly, now yearly, full body checks and scans. Thankfully, though still covered in moles, I have had no more melanomas. I do, however, intend to stay vigilant and will continue these annual checks for the rest of my life.
I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. To my loving family and all the others who bothered to ask “have you had that mole checked yet?” To the wonderful doctor (whose name I did eventually remember) and whose kindness and expertise I will never forget. And, most importantly, to the boy on my left that day. My high school friend who lost his life to melanoma and may very well have saved mine.
My melanoma journey began 2006 when a marketing promotion about sunburn and melanoma prompted me to have a skin check. Having never spoken of melanoma much in my family growing up, I never expected they would find anything. I couldn’t have been more wrong. That first skin check revealed that I had a melanoma.
After successful removal of the melanoma, and with my curiosity peaked around the topic, I discovered that the huge scar on my mother’s leg was in fact the result of melanoma. It also came to light that my maternal grandfather’s death in his early 60s was due to melanoma.
My family’s melanoma journey has not stopped there. I have had a further three melanomas successfully removed. My brother has not been so lucky. He was diagnosed with a melanoma a couple of years ago and subsequent review has seen it spread to lymph nodes and beyond. Melanoma is now a regular topic of discussion in our family.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have the specialist treatment and regular monitoring provided by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. I am confident that the research and education they provide has helped to save my life.
I always think Melanoma is a bit of an enigma. Unlike many cancers it is generally visible and doesn’t require significant, intrusive or expensive tests. With regular monitoring and early treatment it results in little more than a few scars, sometime off work and ongoing vigilance. However, left too long or not spotted early enough, it can be an aggressive and terminal cancer. I now see the regular check-ups as a necessary and positive part of my health routine. I nag anyone who will listen about the importance of regular skin checks.
My family’s story is not necessarily an unusual one, but our experiences highlight the importance of knowing your risk and taking steps to monitor and review your health. I know all too well that, for some, the outcomes of melanoma can be deadly. However, working in partnership with a dedicated service like the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc has left me feeling empowered and confident that melanoma is manageable and preventable for me.
In March 2014, myself along with a bunch of other spirited community members came together one sunny morning for the 2014 March Against Melanoma. I had the pleasure of contributing to the event by volunteering with the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc.
Down along St Kilda Beach people registered their names to promote the fight against one of the most dangerous and prominent cancers threatening Australians. There was a sea of bright yellow bucket hats from the March bags we handed out, with so many people coming together to support those who had lost loved ones and to remember those who had passed.
I was involved in tasks such as greeting people and signing them up, handing out water bottles and March bags, cheering people on during the march and at the finish line, and of course, handing out oodles of sunscreen throughout the day!
It was great fun to join in the camaraderie with other Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc staff members, volunteers and friends. We all enjoyed working together and seeing the joy people felt in sharing their own experiences with others who really knew what it was like to fight cancer.
The day was filled with fun, laughter and entertainment too! Everyone watched as Lucy Durack (Wicked) and Gretel Scarlett (Grease) sang ‘For Good’ from the Broadway musical production of ‘Wicked.’ Interesting and truly heart-felt speeches followed, along with the balloon ceremony where everyone let go of a balloon in remembrance for those who were gone.
My mum works for the Foundation and I wanted to be involved in an event such as this so I could encourage my friends to come along to help raise awareness. Skin cancer and melanoma are leading health issues in Australia and more young people need to be aware of the importance of early detection and prevention.
It was a really fun and rewarding day and I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2015!
I think volunteering is a great way for people to understand concepts of community service and compassion for others.
I initially heard about the March Against Melanoma campaign through a friend and I thought it was a great way to give back.
As a junior doctor, I have seen melanoma patients in different stages of their disease management, from initial diagnosis, to undergoing investigations, to surgery. It is a confronting cancer, however new advances in treatment have altered the prognosis for patients for the better.
My motivation to volunteer was to raise more public awareness for this condition even if it was encouraging simple sun protection.
I helped with distributing packs, setting up marquees and stalls, and marshalling participants around the course. I really enjoyed the experience as I met a wide array of people from varied backgrounds during the course of the March.
I would thoroughly recommend volunteering for March Against Melanoma - a great experience.
Gareth & Johanna Young
I decided to register as a volunteer for the March Against Melanoma in 2014. I moved to Melbourne in 2011 from the UK and as a result have been really conscious of the intensity of the sun and its UV rays. Sun awareness and skin cancer is not part of the national psyche in the UK because of the fewer number of sunny days.
I love the outdoor lifestyle and enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits as a result. Shortly after moving to Melbourne I visited a skin clinic and was told that I was a high risk of getting skin cancer. I now check myself regularly and visit a skin doctor every six months. Since, the original check up I now make sure that I wear sun smart clothing whenever I am outside to minimize exposure to UV rays.
Volunteering at The March Against Melanoma was a really fun experience. The Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc employees were very friendly and welcoming. I completed a number of straightforward tasks in the lead up to and during the event itself. The volunteers were all given a lunch voucher which they could redeem onsite. The participants were also friendly and good-natured. The event was professionally organized, well attended and had a really cool atmosphere. The event concluded with a number of different musical acts at the start/finish line. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in skin cancer prevention and is keen to support a good cause, register to volunteer at the March Against Melanoma.
My name is Johanna Young and I volunteered for the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc in March 2014 for the March Against Melanoma event.
Some of my friends and family members have been affected by skin cancer and melanoma and I wanted to find a way to help the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc on the day.
I registered my interest a few weeks before the March by simply filling in the form on their website. A couple of hours later, I received a nice reply from the organiser saying that they were still in need of volunteers for the day. I received a phone call and another email closer to the day to make sure I was still available.
I arrived early in the morning and was greeted by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc staff who were already there. They briefed the volunteers of what the tasks for the next few hours would be. We were even given the chance to decide which tasks we would prefer to do. Initially we started by packing up some of the goody bags. Once this was complete moved along to marshal the course. It was very well organized, people were super friendly and everyone was buzzing with energy.
Whilst guiding the participants along the course, I was reminded of the ones who had lost loved ones to melanoma. It was sad and moving at times as many of them were wearing a t-shirts with a photo and name of the lost loved one.
Once the march was over our job was pretty much done and we were able to enjoy the outdoor concert. We were also given a voucher to get some lunch, which was a nice touch. I had a great time and would recommend that anyone who is interested goes ahead and register their interest with the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc.