Peninsula Skin Cancer Centre staff members and guests celebrated the achievements of two very special melanoma survivors Andrew Rust & Jay Allen at a luncheon held at the Frankston Centre this week.
Andrew, 40 and Jay, 39 battled the elements as they walked ‘900km for a Cure’ awareness campaign in 16 days to raise funds to support a clinical trial for patients with metastatic melanoma to the brain and to raise awareness of this life threatening disease.
Both were cheered by 72,760 fans as they entered the MCG arena during the Hawthorn vs Sydney Swans clash last weekend to end their 900 km walk from Sydney to Melbourne and delighted to announce they reached their target of $150,000 for research.
Dr Sally Shaw, a surgeon at PSCC addressed guests at the luncheon, praising her staff for helping the three Centres achieve 900 skin checks within the time it took Andrew & Jay to walk 900km. She said, “900km for a Cure awareness campaign was set up to encourage people to have skin checks.” She explained that the disease moves quickly adding, “Early detection helps increase survival rates.”
Dr Shaw proudly handed over a $5,000 cheque from the PSCC to Andrew and Jay to go towards the campaign for melanoma research.
Eleven PSCC staff members were handed an award to acknowledge their hard work checking 900 skins.
Sue Dixon, a Melanographers at PSCC said, “We reached our 900 skin checks and discovered 18 melanomas which equates to 1 in 50 people which is a fantastic result from the awareness campaign.”
Jay and Andrew spoke passionately and honestly about their incredible journey and how they managed to get through the challenges of being melanoma sufferers and survivors, resurfacing a lot of raw emotion.
Andrew explained he lived a beach lifestyle and found a mole on his back at age 27. He has undergone many operations after the melanoma presenting itself in other parts on his body including nymph nodes.
With the help of a great team working behind the scenes Andrew said, “The human spirit in Australia is there – caring for each other.”
When Jay was diagnosed with a melanoma found on his ankle, his life was turned upside down. Working through the challenges with a positive attitude and outlook he wanted to ‘give back’ in some way so decided to end his truck driving days and work for the Melanoma Institute in Sydney as the Community Development Coordinator. He now travels around Australia as a Melanoma Sun Smart Educator, presents to melanoma support groups and helps work toward finding a cure for the disease.
To follow Andrew and Jay, visit their fundraising facebook page http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/900KMFORACURE2014
Approximately 1,500 people die each year in Australia from melanoma – a sobering thought!
The message is loud and clear – ring for an appointment to have a skin check and watch for changing moles.
PSCC is centrally located at:
375 Nepean Hwy
Ph: 9770 0040
93 Tanti Ave
Ph: 5975 9544
3/53 Victoria Street
Ph: 5979 1811
The PSCC offers:
- Skin checks
- Mole Mapping
- Surgical & Non-surgical treatments
- Photo Dynamic Therapy
Skin checks are bulk billed for Pensioners, HCC, DVA plus over 75 year olds.
Next Monday, 4 August Debra & Ange will interview Andrew and Jay on the Breakfast Table after 7.30am on RPP FM 98.7FM & 98.3FM Frankston. These two typical ‘next door’ blokes who have a passion for life and a mateship borne out of a cruel blow are an inspiration to everyone.
Words Debra Mar
Photography Rab Siddhi
Pictured: L-R Proudly standing outside the Peninsula Skin Cancer Centre in Frankston is melanoma survivor Andrew Rust, PSCC Melanographers Sue Dixon and melanoma survivor Jay Allen.