I want to invite you all to make a difference. A difference to the lives of patients all across Australia who like me are battling Melanoma. Advanced Melanoma is a silent beast that steals the lives of those affected and the loved ones that travel the journey with them. It steals your youth. It steals your freedom. It steals your independency. It steals your financial stability. To keep afloat of the mental battle is just as hard as fighting this cancer.
Melanoma Institute Australia’s: Fundraising Objective
Melanoma Institute Australia’s Official Press Release following the Launch of Melanoma March 2016 stated that:
Participating melanoma centres around the country will link databases, for the first time bringing together the key information about the treatment of their patients on a national scale. At present melanoma is only recorded by national cancer registries at the time it is initially diagnosed. Data suitable for research about the patients’ treatment and progress is currently only collected in a few specialist centres. This project seeks to expand this substantially and facilitate the appropriate combination of this invaluable information to provide new insights into treatment responses, especially with the less common forms of melanoma where our aggregated national experience will be so informative.
The world-leading ‘Big Data for Melanoma’ project, funded by the 2016 March events, will feature an online platform designed to engage with melanoma care, wherever it takes place.
A bit about me…
My battle with Melanoma began at the age of 25, scared… alone… and living in London! It saw me return to my home country of Australia, seek medical observation and carry on living with a shadow over my head. In May of 2013, seven (7) years later, Melanoma returned to my life. I endured many operations to my right arm and the pain of blistering and intensive radiation therapy through the height of summer and three (3) days before my 33rd birthday (2014) I was told that my melanoma had progressed to my internal organs, and that I was facing an advanced terminal prognosis. With the assistance of immunotherapy drugs and a life transformation into a plant-based diet and clean living and connecting with my inner-self (and of course the love of my husband Anthony and our healing pup Winston) I have seen reductions in all of my tumors.
I turned 35 on 7 February 2016! I have witnessed and become best friends with NED (No Evidence of Disease, you can read my blog post here) and I have become a voice of the patient spreading awareness and support for those who face a similar prognosis like myself. For me the biggest win in my advocacy has been my involvement in spreading the awareness of drug access to immunotherapy treatments, namely Keytruda. In September 2015, we saw this very drug of which has assisted me, become available on the PBS. A drug that was financially out of reach for the average Australian, now it is helping give many the much-needed time with their loved ones… while also bringing much-needed hope in to their lives.
There is still a long road ahead. I want to see many more birthdays. I want to experience many more happy moments! And I don’t want to see the dark shadow that clouds my life… cloud other young people’s lives.
Melanoma is Australia’s National Cancer… And sadly it is fast becoming the highest cancer amongst young people.
Things are looking good at the moment for me, but the very real fact is that I may not beat this disease. And like me, there are many other young Australians facing the same odds. With the help of advanced technologies through immunotherapy access I am being granted the gift of life extension. And the opportunity to share my very real and very Naked story with the world. My biggest wish in life is to see the reduction in terminal cases of melanoma, in a hope that other young people do not have to face the same fate of life uncertainty as I do. And that other families and friends do not have to sit on the side line and watch the strong people they have always known and love crumble under the weight of a silent killer; that when it chooses to unleash… it does so in a very quick and inhumane fashion.
Like the last two (2) years I have decided to March for the “hope of a cure to Melanoma”. I want to make a DIFFERENCE and by doing so I have created Team Naked Gardiners’ fundraising page to raise funds for melanoma research. Last year I was so honoured to be able to talk to the 2015 Brisbane Melanoma March participants and give an insight in to why days like the Melanoma March are so important to me. In the past two (2) years we have raised over $12,000 for Melanoma Institute Australia as Team Naked Gardiners’ in support of melanoma research.
How to join ‘the team’ in Brisbane on 20 March 2016?
Through this webpage you can easily support our team’s efforts by making a secure donation. I would also really appreciate it if you could share our Fundraising page or comment below so more people know about it. Please register and join Team Naked Gardiners’ and march alongside our team! If you are walking on the day and find the registration process a little confusing, click on the REGISTER NOW button to set up an individual registration, you will have an option to make an INDIVIDUAL REGISTRATION or JOIN A TEAM. Team Naked Gardiners’ is listed as a ‘team only’, you will note that some individual registration pages may be located under this also but ultimately you will want to select TEAM NAKED GARDINERS’. To join our wonderful team, you will need to complete an Individual Registration, go through the prompts of:
- Selecting State: Brisbane
- Entering your personal information
- Entering your reason for marching
- After these steps, you will see a drop down for setting up individual registration or joining a team. Click to Join a Team and SEARCH for TEAM NAKED GARDINERS’. Select Team and enter your $30 payment registration details.
- From here you can start your own fundraising that will ultimately go towards our team fundraising goals!
How to Make a Donation
If you wish to donate/sponsor our team please do so by clicking on the Pink ‘DONATE’ button to make a secure online donation. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible and you will be issued with a DGR receipt via email as soon as you make a donation. And you can also go in the drawer to win a Toyota by following the prompts.
But most importantly you can read about my journey here at The Naked Gardiner and you can share my journey so that other young people truly understand the importance of being aware of melanoma and skin cancer. I personally believe that tanning is just plain dumb and that cutting a cancer out isn’t always the end of the story. Please spread the message that we need to respect the very beautiful and precious skin that we are in. For some of us we don’t get second chances but we sure hope through the success of research and awareness campaigns, that OUR FUTURE DO!!!!
Melanoma March events will be hosted in these 24 locations nationally from February 27–April 10, 2016:
QLD: Bribie Island, Brisbane, Cairns, Coolangatta, Townsville
SA: Adelaide, Port Lincoln
WA: Bunbury, Karratha, Perth CBD, Rockingham
NSW: Bathurst, Bonny Hills, Forster Tuncurry, Gosford, Manly, Picton, Wagga Wagga, Western Sydney, Wollongong
For more information about Melanoma March please visit: www.melanomamarch.org.au.
Thank you so much for your support!
With love, light and bundles gratitude
Kathy Gardiner, Anthony, Winston and Team Naked Gardiners’ xx