Di’s passion for skin cancer commenced when her mother, Judy Shelton succumbed to the disease in 2004, only 8 weeks after being diagnosed with metastatic disease (melanomas that have spread to other parts of the body).
A wonderful Mum and new Grandmother, Judy had also been involved in Girl Guides in Tasmania for many years and was a well-loved librarian assistant at The Friends School in Hobart.
Judy had had a primary melanoma removed off her leg 7 years prior and had been well but by 2004 had extensive disease reinforcing the aggressive and unpredictable nature of the disease.
There were no successful treatments when Judy was diagnosed, with melanoma being notoriously resistant to the standard chemotherapy of the day. Today we have many more options showing promise and offering hope to families affected by the disease.
Melanoma Tas has been established by a group of committed Tasmanians who are passionate about reducing and preventing the incidence of melanoma in Tasmania. We realised that there were no organisations providing comprehensive support and information at a local level for people and families affected by melanoma. Melanoma has a poor prognosis once it has spread to other parts of the body and it’s vital that information and support is readily and easily available.
The aim of our organisation is to minimise the impact of melanoma on all Tasmanians through the provision of support for those living with melanoma and metastatic disease, their families, carers and friends and through raising skin cancer awareness in the Tasmanian community.
As we grow as an organisation, Melanoma Tas will:
- Provide information and peer support to people who have been diagnosed with skin cancer, particularly those with metastatic melanoma (where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body);
- Provide general information about skin cancer awareness, prevention and diagnosis to individuals, families and the Tasmanian community;
- Work with Tasmanian health professionals who have melanoma patients to ensure they are up to date about skin cancer support networks in Tasmania;
- Recruit, train and support peer support volunteers;
- Engage with schools and students at the University of Tasmania to promote awareness of skin cancer prevention; and
- Be an advocacy voice for Tasmanians affected by melanoma.
We will provide leadership in Tasmania about skin cancer awareness and peer support. Our message will be clear and sustainable.