David had a mole on his back that his wife wanted him to have checked, but he didn’t take it seriously. One day after getting home from work he noticed a small blood mark on the back of his shirt. Not thinking anything of it he went to work the next day only to discover that there was another blood spot on his shirt at the end of the day. The mole was bleeding. He managed to get in to a skin check clinic the next day where a biopsy was performed. The Doctor was concerned about the mole because it had been bleeding for a few days. The pathology report came back confirming that it was an ulcerated malignant melanoma. That was a great present a few weeks before Christmas 2017.
David was booked straight into the Calvary Mater Newcastle Melanoma Unit to have it removed. Because of the size of the melanoma, David had a CT scan, ultrasound and lymphoscintigram prior to admission, followed by surgery where the melanoma was removed. During surgery, he also had a sentinel node biopsy performed. Thankfully the lymph nodes came back clear. David was then told that the Melanoma Unit would continue monitoring him for the next few years. He continued to have 6 monthly skin checks.
About 12 months later, David was at the bank when a stranger tapped him on the shoulder and asked when he last had a skin check as there was a spot on the back of his arm which looked suspicious. Initially he dismissed the man as David had his skin checked 5 weeks earlier. It was between Christmas and New Year 2018 and the Melanoma Unit was closed for Christmas so they recommended David go to his GP to have a biopsy performed. The next day David got into see his GP who asked another colleague for an opinion on the spot on his arm. Both Doctors were concerned given his melanoma history and David was booked in for a few days later to have the spot removed. Pathology results confirmed that it was an invasive melanoma.
HMF launched a social media campaign to try and find David's mystery stranger who tapped him on the shoulder in the bank, but to this day, he hasn't been found.
Unfortunately, David's story doesn't end there.
In April 2020 David was treated by his GP for what they thought was a bladder infection. After not responding to antibiotics, David's Doctor investigated further and he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. In June, a surgical procedure removed the tumor from his bladder and later that month, it was confirmed that the tumor was in fact melanoma. A PET scan in July also showed some melanoma tumors in his Gall Bladder. Later that month, an MRI scan showed that the cancer had spread to his brain and David was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma, with 10 active brain tumors. David now has 12 active brain tumors.
David has been undergoing an epic roller coaster ride during his treatment plan. To keep updated on his treatment you can follow the HMF facebook page. In an effort to raise awareness about prevention and early detection of melanoma, David allows us to share his story in the hope that it will save others from going through the same ordeal.
On Saturday, 2nd April 2022, David lost his battle with melanoma.
David became an accidental HMF ambassador, or as he used to call himself, the "HMF Pin Up Boy". He selflessly allowed HMF to share his story in an effort to raise awareness about melanoma and the importance of early detection. What he actually did was much more than that. David became a beacon of hope to other melanoma patients. His positive attitude was an inspiration giving hope to others battling this awful, unforgiving disease.
Our deepest condolences go to David's family - wife Susan and children Emily and Michael.
May you rest in peace David.