Local Charity Prompts Change

Having not had a skin check in over a decade, former professional Surfer Matt Hoy paid a visit to the Hunter Melanoma Foundation Spot Check clinic, and is thankful he did.

Before his skin check, Matt did not have any specific spots that he was concerned about.

“From a young age I have always been vigilant about protecting my skin from the sun. I wear a wetsuit when out in the surf and am constantly applying sunscreen, so I wasn’t overly worried about getting my skin checked”, Matt said.

During Matt’s skin check the local doctor from Newcastle Skin Check found two spots on his back that required further examining. 

With the back being the most common place for melanoma to appear, Matt took no time in booking a follow up appointment.

“The skin check part was easy. However, I did feel pretty anxious after they asked me to follow up as soon as possible to get two spots on my back furthered examined,” Matt said.

After the two spots were removed Matt received the reliving news that the spots on his back weren’t melanomas.

“I regret putting my skin check off for so long and even though my results turned out to be okay, it certainly was a wakeup call to get my skin checked regularly,” Matt said. 

Over the 2020/21 summer season the Foundation ran its ‘Spot check’ campaign, an initiative that provided the general public and the Surf Lifesaving community with free skin checks. Through the help of local doctors from Newcastle Skin Check 723 received a free skin check. 31 of these skin checks were suspected melanomas and from those 8 were confirmed melanomas.

HMF’s Executive Officer, Claudia Tolhurst said the Spot Check campaign provided the community with more than a free skin check, it encouraged people to change their sun smart behaviours and take getting their skin checked seriously.

“Early intervention of melanoma is so important, yet people put off getting their skin checked. By bringing this service to the community we were able to provide more than 700 people with free skin checks, some of which were life saving,”

“Being a solely community funded organisation we rely on community support to be able to run initiatives like Spot Check,” Claudia said.

Matt Hoy is thankful that a local charity provided such a vital service to the community.

“It is through initiatives like this that make a real change in our community, that’s why it is important for our local community to support charities like the Hunter Melanoma Foundation to continue the wonderful work they do,” Matt said.



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