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Every five hours one of us will die – from melanoma

Coronavirus may be what everyone’s thinking about right now, but how’s this for some perspective: one Australian will be diagnosed with melanoma every half an hour this year, and every five hours one of us will die from it. Macarthur Melanoma March committee member Roger Giles, pictured, knows first hand the devastation that melanoma can have on a family after losing his 38 year old son Nathan to melanoma four years ago.  “I became involved in Melanoma March because of my experience with our son Nathan who lost his life to stage four metastatic melanoma in June 2016,’’ says Mr Giles.

Nathan, a teacher, left behind his wife Jenny and five young children when he finally succumbed to melanoma.

“Although metastatic melanoma can affect old fellows too, this dangerous illness is basically a disease of young people in their prime of life – young men and women in their twenties and thirties, often with young families and their lives in front of them,’’ Mr Giles said.

“We must find a way to help these young Australians,’’ he said.

That’s where the annual Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) comes in with awareness and fundraising activities such as the annual Melanoma March.

MIA has helped achieve important breakthroughs which have meant people diagnosed with melanoma can live longer.

Nathan Giles was given access to treatments that extended his life by five years.

When in September 2011 a scan confirmed he had stage four melanoma in his liver, lungs and brain, Nathan was given less than six months to live.

The team at Melanoma Institute Australia worked to give Nathan as much time as possible with his wife Jenny and their young family of five children.

The Melanoma March, which includes more than 22 family friendly walks around the country, is a call to arms to all Australians to help MIA to combat one of Australia’s biggest killers.

Any funds raised – and everyone is asked to give generously -will go into melanoma research to pave the way for new and life-saving treatments.

Melanoma: Nathan Giles with his family in December 2011, from left, Ruby, Hamish, William and Emily, his wife Jenny and Matilda.

Next Sunday, March 15, the annual Melanoma March will take place at Miss Llewella Davies Walkway, Camden Town Farm from 7.30am.

It deserves as much support as possible from the generous people of our region.

For more information to register to walk, or sponsor someone who is walking, visit www.melanomamarch.org.au

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