Funding for the HMF is raised solely by the community we serve through donations, bequests & membership fees as well as through fundraising activities and community grants. The HMF receives no government funding. With the Hunter having such a high incidence of melanoma, it is important that the activities of the HMF remain primarily within the Hunter Region and the area serviced by the Newcastle Melanoma Unit. It is important to note the HMF operates on a minimal budget with just one employee and many services provided free of charge or discounted to ensure the hard earned money raised goes to where it is needed most; to local melanoma research for better treatments and - one day - a cure; to education and awareness about prevention and early detection; to support local medical professionals working in the melanoma space; and supporting local patients and their families in Newcastle & the Hunter Region.
Awareness & education,
early detection & prevention
The HMF's education and awareness programs within our schools and community groups are one of the primary purposes of the Foundation and are key to the prevention and early detection of melanoma in our region. These campaigns, funded by your donations, are aimed at specific target groups and our method of reaching those target groups vary depending on the group. An early detection message, for example, is targeted to men over 50 whom - as evidenced through data from the NMU - have a very high mortality rate, mainly due to the late detection of the melanoma. Campaigns like "Checkmate" are employed to target this group as well as speaking directly to community groups such as Bowls, Rotary and Probus to reach this demographic and their partners (who are more likely to take action). When we want to educate young children about lifelong sun safe habits we take the message directly to the children. Our infants & primary schools program includes a member of the HMF speaking to the class directly and distributing age-appropriate, fun, educational kits. High school students receive a more confronting message about the realities of melanoma and the real tragedies of young people’s lives cut short from the disease. Our "Danny" campaign can be delivered to high school students as a live play or short movie. Our "Spot Check" campaign was introduced over the summer of 2020/2021 and delivered 723 free skin checks to people of the region. The launch of this campaign saved the lives of 7 locals through early detection of confirmed melanoma's.
By consistently selling our "sun safe" prevention and both our "Checkmate" & "Spot Check" early detection messages to the right demographic, through the right channels, the Foundation is making a difference to melanoma incidence and mortality. In 1980 the Hunter Region had one of the highest incidence of melanoma per capita in the world, recent data puts our region as only 5th highest in NSW. Though this is great news - we have much more to do. Too many people are still dying from melanoma - so our work must continue.
Research & training
Your money also goes into research conducted locally through the Hunter Medical Research Institute & University of Newcastle and helps local scientists and PHD students continue their vital research projects. For over 30 years the HMF has funded important research that have changed the way melanoma is diagnosed and treated improving detection and outcomes for patients. Research is a costly business and we are proud to be able to assist with a wide range of requests from software to record databases, laboratory equipment, research training positions and clinical trials.
The HMF also allocates funds to education & training courses for medical professionals. This ranges from sponsoring University of Newcastle courses for GPs to update their skills in melanoma diagnosis and treatment as well as the ongoing training of Newcastle Melanoma Unit staff and information sharing at both national and international conferences.