Torrential rain and testing weather conditions has not hindered the progress of Melanoma Institute Australia’s community coordinator Jay Allen on his epic fundraising march.
Jay is more than halfway through the Longest Melanoma March, where he and his team are walking 1200km from Brisbane to Sydney over 29 days, aiming to raise $250,000.
“It’s been awesome,” Jay said during his stop over on the Mid North Coast where he met with other survivors and community members to raise awareness about the deadly disease.
“Feet are feeling really good, confident now we’re going to bring this shield all the way to Sydney. It’s going to be great.
“It’s been a good, strong team effort. We’ve been sharing stories and meeting inspiring people – those who have lost family members or those who have suffered themselves.”
In 2008 Jay was diagnosed with melanoma.
“I had no idea how deadly melanoma could be,” he said.
“I was lucky my wife kept persisting that I get a mole on my left ankle checked and lucky I did because it was a melanoma 1.95mm deep and it spread to the lymph nodes in my left groin.
“I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. It was life changing for myself and family.”
Jay underwent immediate surgery and treatment. Eight years on he is fighting fit — and is now fighting for another cause - to help raise awareness and find a cure for melanoma which is the number one cancer killer of Australians aged 20-39.
“I’m lucky to be alive, so now its time to give back to Melanoma Institute Australia who saved my life,” he said.
“I’ve got many friends who are right now fighting to stay alive.
“I want to walk and show them we need to get a cure for this disease.
Every single dollar raised will help Melanoma Institute Australia fund vital research to find a cure for melanoma.
So far Jay and his team have raised around $145,000.
“Please dig deep for this great cause and help change the future for thousands of Australians diagnosed with melanoma each year. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Let’s work together to end melanoma,” Jay said.