In the lead up to the month of March every year you see me popping in to your inboxes, laying out my call to arms and expressing why a certain campaign means so much to me. That campaign is the Melanoma March!
The Melanoma March hosted by the Melanoma Institute of Australia raises much-needed funds for melanoma research. Every year my closest friends and family pull together and join forces to raise money for Team Naked Gardiners’. We have consistently done this for three (3) years and raised (as a team for this specific campaign) just under $14,000. A massive effort and a huge thank you to everyone for their ongoing support!
Every year I focus on how important it is to support those that you love, particularly when a member in your family faces Advanced Melanoma or has been touched by early-stage melanoma or skin cancer in some way. Support isn’t just about supporting the patient it is equally about supporting loved ones; they are our friends, our family and our carers (and let’s not forget our furry and feathered mates).
For me, Melanoma March 2017 is about friendship.
It is about saying thank you to those that have done the hard yards and kept smiling, and those that equally have done the hard yards on the sidelines as our confidantes, it is about the friends that sit by and make you laugh, the family that take you to the multitude of appointments, that deal with your outbursts, your frustration, the tears and the drama that surrounds and often suffocates the world of a patient facing advanced stage melanoma. It’s about supporting those that put on a brave face for the sake of others. It’s about the friends you make as a patient (or a carer) along this very difficult journey and the bonds you form based on kindred understanding.
This year, I have made a choice, I am not going to walk as Team Naked Gardiners’… instead I will walk under a different banner, a banner of friendship, to support my friend Emma Betts (of Dear Melanoma) and her beautiful family.
Emma has devoted her life’s purpose to melanoma, particularly educating young females about the need to be sun-safe, and sun-smart. She has raised an enormous amount of funds in the name of research particularly for the Melanoma Institute of Australia and more recently the Smiling for Smiddy Foundation here in Brisbane, with her hubby Serge cycling across the countryside. And just last week, she ever so graciously was awarded the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Young Citizen of the Year in the Brisbane City Council’s Lord Mayor Australia Day Awards for the work she has done in education, melanoma and sun-safety awareness and fundraising.
I know personally that as a patient with terminal melanoma the toll of devoting your life to something that affects you physically can be all-consuming and the weight great, for Emma she takes on this responsibility with a youthful passion and a strong desire to help many, not just those affected with melanoma.
Every year when I walk the Melanoma March I am reminded by how much beautiful support is around me. When I look in to the faces of others marching, I know they feel the same about their own lives, whatever their connection may be with this awful disease.
I am often overcome by this emotional wave of gratitude when the deep understanding evolves that my loved ones made a conscious and physical commitment to come and support me, to stand by me, to raise their own awareness which then in turn allows them to support others and to donate to research… their support of me, becomes their support of YOU.
So in the name of friendship, this year I take off my Team Naked Gardiners’ hat and swap it with a Dear Melanoma Team member hat, to walk alongside my beautiful friend Emma, to show support for her and her family after a very tough year and that as a united force we can throw our healing love behind our friend!
Raising money in the name of research has always been Emma’s number one priority, let’s support her mission and make this year the best year ever in helping her and her family reach these heights! Research means options, for you, for me, for Emma and the greater population of Australia.
May your family never be touched by Melanoma, but if they are, know that your friends are always here to support you!
The Melanoma March in Brisbane will be held from 8 am on Sunday, 12 March at the Brisbane River Stage.
This year dog’s are not allowed in to the River Stage. Please be mindful that your pooches are well looked after on the day.
To join Emma’s Dear Melanoma Team:
UPDATE: DETAILS TO REGISTER FOR MELANOMA MARCH:
- Head to https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/melanoma-institute-australia-10869722141 (select your city) to register as an individual
- Enter your details
- On the second page it will ask if you want to join a team – Join ‘TEAM DEAR MELANOMA’ if you wish to join Emma’s team or create your own. You will be prompted to create a Fundraising Page.
If you can’t make it and would like to DONATE, head to the
the donation link below:
https://melanomamarch2017.gofundraise.com.au/page/KathyGardiner2 (Dear Melanoma – TNG Friends) – all donations will go to Emma’s Dear Melanoma Team total!
WHAT TO WEAR:
Emma’s Dear Melanoma Team are wearing black and white colours on the 12 March 2017 in Brisbane. If you care to do so, get in to the spirit or you could purchase a Dear Melanoma Parasol. If you would like to purchase one for $55 head on over to http://www.loveemma.com.au/products/parasol-pre-order. Of course it goes without saying, wear sun-sensible attire, protection and hats.
To read about Emma’s story go to her popular blog Dear Melanoma.
For more information about the Melanoma March please go to the website by clicking here.
Photos and images are care of Melanoma Institute Australia and Kathy Gardiner’s personal collection from Melanoma March 2016.