What a year 2019 has been. Our team has again been behind the scenes (and in some cases at the forefront of) meetings, collaborations and events in order to raise awareness of melanoma and skin cancer in Tasmania. The year culminated in Melanoma Tasmania incorporating as Skin Cancer Tasmania in order to meet the needs of Tasmanians affected by all forms of skin cancer, not just melanoma.
For a small team with no employed staff, we manage to maintain a voice and presence amongst much larger organisations. It is because of the feedback that we receive from you, that we are continually motivated to maintain our activities and we will continue to be a voice for those and their families who feel the impact of this disease.
Some of the major highlights for 2019 were:
- The inaugural Melanoma March in Launceston. It was an honour to walk alongside one of the greats of melanoma research in the field of pathology, Dr Richard Scolyer, who is a Launceston local.
- The Rosny Park Tennis Club ran a 24-hour Tennis A Thon at the end of March – the first of its kind certainly in Tasmania, with proceeds coming to Melanoma Tasmania. Continuing with the sporting theme, the Northern Hawks Netball Club had a Melanoma Awareness Round in July following one of their players being diagnosed with melanoma. The Hawks even had specially designed dresses to wear. Huge thanks to everyone who supported the match and the accompanying silent auction.
- Melanoma Tasmania won two awards at the Tasmanian Volunteering Awards held at Government House in May. A very humbling experience considering the calibre of nominees.
- Ken Harriss again flew the flag for melanoma awareness visiting secondary schools and colleges across the state with Run From the Sun 2019. This year’s event was even bigger and incorporated visits to pharmacies – providing skin scans with our UV face scanner as well as the Ride and Drive for Melanoma Tasmania fundraiser on the middle weekend.
- After many years of advocating for a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of melanoma in Tasmania, which is standard practice in other states, we took part in the inaugural Melanoma and Complex Skin Cancer Multidisciplinary Meeting (MDM) on October 14 at Icon Cancer Centre in Hobart. This will become an ongoing meeting for oncologists, surgeons, skin cancer doctors and nurses to all be able to discuss complex cases and agree on the best treatment plan for each patient as a group.
- In November, Melanoma Tasmania was the recipient of one of the local Tour de Cure grants as part of the Peter MacCallum Ride and we were awarded a cheque at the dinner in Launceston attended by 100 riders and support crew.
- Attending the Global Coalition for Melanoma Advocates Conference in Salt Lake City with fellow advocates from across the globe supporting each other and sharing ideas and resources.
Heartfelt thanks must go to the volunteers who do so much for us – we really cannot do what we do without you. Special mention must go to Ken Harriss, Kadie Pretyman and Darryn Purcell who have given up countless hours to raise awareness of melanoma in Tasmania. And of course, our hard-working board members: Kate Atkinson (Vice Chair), Scott Nicol (Treasurer), Wendy Sullivan (Secretary), Trish McDonald, Nikki Elkerton, Candice Terhell, Andrew Johns and Tim Jackson as Board Advisor
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