Record crowd for Manly’s Melanoma March

WITH a record crowd of 800 people, Manly’s Melanoma March on Sunday commemorated people who have lost a battle with the disease.

Hosted by the Biggest Loser’s Shannan Ponton, who has waged a battle with the disease after diagnosis in 2010, the event aims to support people who are currently living with melanoma diagnosis.

Melanoma March participants at the finish line.

In an address on Sunday to march participants, the reality TV star thanked his wife who noticed a mole on the back of his thigh and swiftly booked a medical appointment. ”I’ll forever be defined by 0.04mm for the rest of life,” Mr Ponton said.

“Had the melanoma spread that little extra my story may have been very different.”

He said skin checks and sun safety were vital for all Australians.

Olympic swimmer Cate Campbell also joined marchers on Sunday, cutting the starting line’s ribbon and kicking off the Manly march.

The champion world record-holder was recently appointed as an ambassador for the National Melanoma Institute.

Campbell, 26, had a melanoma removed after getting a mole on her arm checked in November last year.

She said melanoma was the most common cancer among young Australians.

“I want to make sure people know the importance of having skin checks.

“As someone with pale, freckly skin, keeping up with freckles and sun spots is difficult, but my melanoma developed in a mole I had my whole life and on the surface it looked like nothing had changed,” she said.

Shannan Ponton, Grant King (chairman of Melanoma Institute of Australia), professor Georgina Long, and Melanoma Institute CEO Matthew Browne and swimmer Cate Campbell

“I shudder to think what would have happened had I not had that mole checked.

“It literally saved my life.”

Funds raised from this year’s Melanoma March, organised by James Economides, will go to melanoma research.

Team Coastside Pools at Melanoma March Manly

National Melanoma Institute’s Professor Georgina Long said funs raised would support the Personalised Immunotherapy Project, a new national research project.

“The project will allow researchers and clinicians to personalise immunotherapies for patients, in essence, to match the treatment provided to the patient with the tumour of that patient,” she said.

“This will be a great stride towards our mission of zero deaths from melanoma.”

Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan spoke at the march about losing his father to melanoma.

*This article was originally published by The Daily Telegraph.

New drug trial saves Greg Holterman who has battled melanoma three times

A NORTHERN beaches man who was told at the age of 23 he had just a five per cent chance of surviving deadly melanoma is cancer free after taking part in an exciting new clinical trial.

Greg Holterman was given the shocking news that he had advanced melanoma which had spread to his lymph nodes in 2004.

It was successfully treated. But after a long period with no relapse, it returned twice more, the first time in his lungs, which was operable, and in the latest incident in April last year, on his abdomen. He was offered a place on an immunotherapy clinical trial in May and was cancer free four months later.

Mr Holterman, now 37, of Brookvale, said being accepted on the trial had allowed him to MC at his sister’s wedding and play the piano as she walked down the aisle.

Unfortunately, not all stories end as well as Mr Holterman’s, with one Australian dying from melanoma every five hours.

“Research into melanoma led to the development of new treatments that have kept me alive for the past 14 years — even when the odds were against me,” he said. “I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a treatment that has worked for them. Not everyone survives.”

Mr Holterman is hopeful that with funds for research and an increased awareness of melanoma, there will be more success stories.

Melanoma Institute Australia CEO, Matthew Browne, said more than 14,000 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma every year.

“Concerningly, it is also the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39 year old Australians,” he said. “We are working towards melanoma becoming a chronic disease instead of a terminal illness but until we achieve our mission of zero deaths from melanoma, we still have a lot of work to do.”

The trial at the Melanoma Insititute of Australia is for advanced melanoma patients and involves combination immunotherapy infusions with an experimental injectable drug. The experimental drug is designed to stimulate the body’s immune response in a new way, increasing the ability of immune cells to recognise and kill tumour cells.

The trial involves approximately 43 visits over around two years. While Mr Holterman was told he had no evidence of the disease last year, he will continue the treatment until it finishes.

Join Mr Holterman at Melanoma March Manly, Sunday, 10 March. Register here!

** This article was originally published by The Daily Telegraph here

Thirroul’s Anne Clarke urges locals to join Wollongong’s Melanoma March

Aussie icon Sophie Monk calls on Australians to get behind Melanoma March

Quintessential Aussie girl and media personality Sophie Monk has been announced as a National Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign, Melanoma March.

Sophie today toured Melanoma Institute Australia’s research and treatment centre in Sydney, where she met a young family devastated by melanoma. She spent time with little Madi who was only three-years-old when she lost her dad Peter to melanoma.

MIA CEO Matthew Browne says the organisation is thrilled to have Sophie onboard as the Queensland-based media personality is relatable to 15-39 year olds, the age bracket in which melanoma is the most common cancer.

“Sophie, like many Australians, has grown up living an outdoor, active lifestyle which all too often can have dire consequences,” Matthew said. “Many people don’t realise how common melanoma is, with more than 14,000 Australians expected to be diagnosed with the disease this year. By having Sophie onboard we will better be able to reach young Australians with sun-safety and skin awareness messages.”

After having a close friend diagnosed with melanoma, and then watching her dad battle with skin cancer, Sophie was shocked to learn that melanoma is the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39 year old Australians.

I love going to the beach as much as the next Australian, but now seeing just how prevalent melanoma is among young people, it has prompted me to spread the sun safety message so no one has to go through this devastating diagnosis, Sophie said.

Sophie will use her public profile as one of Australia’s most loved television and radio personalities to warn other young Aussies of the risk of sun exposure and the need to be vigilant in checking their skin for changes.

“When I first came back to Australia the thing I noticed most was how much time Australians spend in the sun, so I was constantly reminding my family to put on sunscreen.  We should all be using sunscreen and checking our skin, in the same way we clean our teeth every day. And if you notice any changes to your skin, you need to get checked professionally ASAP. I know it can be a pain but it could be the difference between life and death. I’ll be nagging all my friends and family to book in to get their initial skin check!”

Sophie has also generously come on board as an Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia’s national awareness campaign, Melanoma March, which includes 23 family friendly walks across every state and territory in Australia, as well as the 2000km Jay’s Longest Melanoma March from Adelaide to Sydney. The campaign raises vital funds for melanoma research.

Our goal is zero deaths from melanoma, and whilst recent clinical advances have tripled life expectancy of some advanced melanoma patients, we still have one Australian dying from the disease every five hours,” said Matthew Browne. “It is vital we fund ongoing research so we can save more lives.

“I grew up in sunny Queensland and it’s only through hearing the devastating stories about melanoma that I now realise how deadly the disease can be, and the importance of sun safety, especially among the younger generation,” Sophie said.

Join your local Melanoma March to help raise awareness as well as much-needed funds so that one day no one will have to die from melanoma,” Sophie said.

For more information on how to register for a march near you or donate to Melanoma March, go to

Melanoma March 2019 is an initiative of Melanoma Institute Australia. In South Australia, we work alongside Australian Melanoma Research Foundation; in Western Australia, we work with melanomaWA; and in Victoria, we work with the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc.

Melanoma March 2019 Principal Partner is Ricky, and Supporting Partners include Sun Sense, Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc., Toyota and Kensington Parry.


Melanoma March is thrilled to introduce Ricky as our official Principal Partner for 2019!

Ricky is a family owned and operated business that has grown to become Australia’s leading supplier of specialised textiles including state-of-the-art sun protection fabrics. Ricky has been in partnership with Melanoma Institute Australia since 2015 by donating a percentage of sales from various product lines directly to MIA’s research and education programs.

Ricky has supported various community fundraising events like our Inspired Adventures Great Wall of China trek in 2017 and always rallies team members to march across the country for Melanoma March. Through its corporate social responsibility initiative, Ricky is helping pave the way to a cure for melanoma. We’re excited to be taking steps together to end melanoma.

Clair’s story

Clair faced an impossible choice – risk delivering her baby early, or delay potentially life-saving melanoma treatment…

Clair faced an impossible choice – risk delivering her baby early, or delay potentially life-saving melanoma treatment.

She was 38 weeks’ pregnant with her first child when she received the news that a suspicious looking mole on her face was melanoma.  Her medical team advised her she needed urgent surgery to remove the melanoma.

“It was pretty scary,” Clair said. “We discussed getting me into surgery that week but that would require knocking me out and with that there was a great risk of me going into labour in the operating theatre and waking up with my baby. That wasn’t something I wanted.”

Luckily, Clair and her medical team were able to formulate a plan which enabled her to give birth to her son and then have the surgery shortly afterwards.

“You’re breast feeding at the time, you have to fast for the surgery, you’re away from your baby – you have all those fears running through your mind,” Clair recalls.

Clair’s surgery was a success and she has since had three more children. She is grateful her employer, Brightside Cover, is supporting melanoma research by coming on board as Principal Partner for Melanoma March.

Clair’s is the latest in a series of emotive videos launched by Melanoma Institute Australia, showing the impact of melanoma on everyday Australians.  Watch her story below and join her in the fight against melanoma by signing up for a Melanoma March event near you.

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Peter marches for a cure

Melanoma took 58-year-old Peter Heywood by surprise. He noticed a small lump on his scalp which he decided to have assessed…

Melanoma took 58-year-old Peter Heywood by surprise. He noticed a small lump on his scalp which he decided to have assessed. It was Stage III melanoma. “It never occurred to me that it would be melanoma,” Peter said. “You can imagine my surprise when the biopsy came back as a Stage III melanoma, which meant it had already spread to the lymph nodes in my neck and shoulder.”

Peter underwent surgery to remove the primary tumour as well as lymph nodes in his neck and shoulder. A second lump was then discovered on his scalp which required another round of surgery. That’s when Peter received the news that his melanoma had progressed to Stage IV, meaning it had spread to other organs.

“It was like having a death sentence hanging over my head,” Peter said. “When I knew it was Stage III I felt confident about beating it, but the news that the melanoma had spread was just devastating, not only for me but also for my family. I had to stop working, and focus on doing what I could to just stay alive.”

Peter was eligible for participation in a clinical trial of nivolumab being run by Melanoma Institute Australia, which he began almost straight away. The results have been promising, with the tumours in his abdomen and liver reducing by some 75%. He is now looking towards a future enjoyed with his family and friends. “I am living proof of the power of research and just what can be achieved when the world’s best minds focus on coming up with new and innovative treatments,” Peter said. “We have some of the world’s best here in Australia with Professor Georgina Long and her team leading the way in research, trials and saving lives. These clinical trials are proving that melanoma can in fact be slowed, if not halted, but there is still a lot more that needs to be done,” he said.

Peter and his family took his second chance at life as an opportunity to help join the fight against melanoma. They rallied to attend Melanoma March Sydney at Barangaroo in 2017 and raised more than $1,500 for research, taking Peter’s support of Melanoma Institute Australia to close to $4,000. He is urging other families to join him when he returns to Melanoma March 2018.

“We will be back in 2018, once again doing our bit to raise awareness and much needed funds for research,” Peter said. “We can’t do it alone – I’d urge everyone to sign up for a Melanoma March close to home, to work together to end melanoma for our future generations.”

Join Peter in the fight against melanoma by signing up for a Melanoma March event near you.

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