One of the HMF’s key functions in the community is to create awareness about sun safety to prevent melanoma. To best reach the children and teenagers before they cause damage to their skin the HMF enlists the help of ”Ambassadors” who can relate to this tough audience.
Occupation: Student/Junior Pro Surfer
With his blonde hair, blue eyes and beach lifestyle, Jake has a lot of risk factors for melanoma so he knows how seriously he has to take sun safety. He doesn’t venture out without 30+ sunscreen and usually rash shirt and zinc. His father and grandfather have both had skin cancers removed and he knows the disease can be deadly. When Jakes not competing at the elite level in Australia or overseas he visits schools to help educate students about sun safety.
Occupation: Primary School Teacher
Hobbies: Shopping swimming going to the beach, friends
School: Waratah & Jesmond High
Melanoma: First diagnosed age 22
Erin enjoyed hanging out with my friends and heading to the beach most weekends in summer when she was at high school. She would lay in the sun without any sunscreen or sun protection for hours and hours,to get a tan! She even spent recess and lunch at school tanning in the playground. She thought having a tan was cool, and never EVER thought of the damage the sun was doing to her body. At age 22 Erin became concerned about a mole on her thigh and after being told not to worry about it she insisted on another appointment as she was certain the mole had changed. She was right it was melanoma. Two weeks later she had surgery to remove the melanoma and spent 5 week on crutches. Today Erin has her skin checked every six months at the skin cancer clinic.
Hobbies: Painting, drawing, friends
School: Newcastle Grammar
Melanoma: First diagnosed age 18
Holly lives at Nelson Bay and went to Newcastle Grammar. Her girlfriends loved to spend weekends at the beach sunbaking … so Holly went too. She didn’t want to be left out. She didn’t wear sunscreen because…noone else did! Holly’s GP spotted a suspect mole on her shoulder and removed it when she was just 18. Tests revealed it was melanoma. She didn’t know what melanoma was. She had a second surgery to remove a larger piece of tissue around the area where the mole was to hopefully remove all traces of the cancerous cells. Luckily the melanoma was not too deep – less than 1mm but she still required layers of internal stitches and 10 external stiches. She has since had 2 more suspect moles removed. They were benign (not cancerous). Holly gets nervous before every one of her 6 monthly check-ups.
Occupation: Retail Management
School: Lambton High
Melanoma: First diagnosed age 29
Tracy didn’t like sunbaking – her skin was fair and would burn easily. But she liked to look tanned. Her solution a Solarium. She thought it was a safe way to tan. She was wrong. At 29 Tracy spotted a mole that was getting larger on her thigh. She had a gut feeling something was wrong with it even though her GP though it was fine. She insisted on getting it checked out by a specialist. Lucky she did. It was a melanoma.One week after the mole was taken off for testing Tracy underwent surgery for a wider excision she needed two weeks off work. Tracy is convinced her melanoma was from the solarium.