Karen and her team, #TeamKaz, kicked goals at Melanoma March 2017 and we can’t wait to welcome them back to march along with us in 2018!
Finding a cure for melanoma is close to Karen’s heart. In 2009, Karen noticed a small raised skin colour spot on her right elbow. Karen was vigilant having regular check-ups and annual skin checks but was told it was nothing to worry about.
In 2010, at age 40, Karen fell pregnant. During the first 10 weeks of pregnancy the spot on her elbow started to change; getting bigger and changing colour. As Karen’s belly grew, so did the growth and it started to become painful. “One week later at 33 weeks pregnant I received a phone call from the doctor and my world was turned upside down”, Karen said.
After being diagnosed with melanoma, Karen needed to give birth as soon as possible so that she could get further treatment. Her beautiful new-born son spent three weeks in intensive care as Karen prepared to be transferred to a different hospital for surgery.
Karen continued with three-monthly check-ups for two years. Unfortunately it wasn’t over. Early in 2016, she noticed some discolouration of the skin on her face leading to an eventual CT scan. The results from a PET scan and biopsy revealed a tumour at the base of Karen’s trachea. In July 2016, five years to the week of her original surgery, she was admitted to hospital to undergo a thoracotomy to remove the mass. The surgery was seemingly successful…
In late December, Karen started to have headaches and following an MRI, it was discovered that Karen had a bleed on the brain caused by a tumour.
It was later confirmed to be melanoma.
“Living with Stage IV melanoma has affected every aspect of mine and my family’s life. That’s why I am participating in this year’s Melanoma March, raising much needed funds for research and finding a cure.”
Karen wants to share her story to encourage people to get regular skin checks, get educated and protect themselves and their children from the damaging sun. Check yourself and get involved by signing up for Melanoma March 2018!