Queensland holds the unfortunate title as the skin cancer capital of the world, and many businesses are throwing their support behind the Melanoma Institute Australia’s 12th annual Melanoma March event, providing some much needed people power and fundraising.
As an organisation with 450 staff, three contact centres and 28 branches spanning to the northern tip in Weipa, west to Mount Isa and into the south-east corner, Queensland Country Bank understands the importance of using the event as a catalyst to not only raise vital funds for research, but to show support to staff affected by this insidious disease and encourage preventative action to save lives from skin cancer.
“As a member-owned organisation that values our people, we understand that we can collectively make a positive impact to a cause which is so important in the state we live and work in,” says Head of Human Resources, Rebecca Campbell.
“The Melanoma Institute of Australia is one of the four charity recipients selected by staff to benefit from our Workplace Giving Fund this financial year, and we’re also encouraging staff to register for their local Melanoma March.
“We’re sharing resources on our staff intranet to raise awareness of melanoma statistics, the importance of wearing sun protective clothing and sunscreen daily, how to self-examine your own skin to identify any changes, and encouraging everyone to book their annual skin check with a qualified skin cancer doctor.
“With one Australian diagnosed with melanoma every thirty minutes, and a large staff network throughout a state with some of the highest UV ratings in the world, we believe it is important to show support to our staff who have been touched by melanoma and to promote sun safety within our workplace.
It is a welcome show of support for Queensland Country Bank Money Mentor, Renae Ing, whose husband Mick was diagnosed with a stage four melanoma in December 2019. Mick recently completed three years and two months of immunotherapy treatment, and although he is now cancer-free, the diagnosis has taken an emotional toll on the whole family and he will suffer life-long side effects.
“The treatment killed off my pancreas, adrenals and thyroid, and I’m now a Type 1 Diabetic,” Mick says.
“I have to have a PET scan every three months and take medication for the rest of my life, but I’m here, and I get to see my grandkids grow up.
“I’ll definitely be at the March with my family, we really enjoyed it last year. Come along, enjoy the walk along the Strand, let’s get the word out there, not just for the awareness but to get these vital funds where they’re needed.”
Townsville Melanoma March committee Chair and Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic Medical Director, Dr Helena Rosengren, says it’s terrific to see organisations throw their support behind Melanoma March, and it would greatly help them reach their goal of raising $10,000 locally.
“This year’s Melanoma March campaign aims to raise $1 million nationally for Australia’s first clinical trials aimed to reduce the anxiety and fear experienced by patients and their loved ones, and will also promote greater awareness of the damages of sun exposure, including a call to stop the glamorisation of tanning,” she says.
“All around us is subliminal messaging that a tan is healthy, on billboards, in newspapers, magazines, social media and TV. There is nothing healthy about a tan, it is a sign of skin cells in trauma. It is a sign that you may develop skin cancer or melanoma, and potentially even die from a preventable disease.
“Any exposure to the skin without covering up or using sunscreen with the high UV index we experience here in North Queensland will almost certainly cause irreparable damage.
“Simple steps such as wearing sunscreen, hat and protective clothing every day, self-monitoring for changes to your skin and having regular skin checks with an accredited skin cancer doctor can be life-saving.”
The Townsville Melanoma March will be held 8.00am Sunday 12 March at the Rockpool, The Strand.
Those who can’t attend an event can still support the campaign by getting active and hosting a March Your Way activity with friends or individually.
To register or donate to Melanoma March, go to www.melanomamarch.org.au.
Main image: Getting ready to march – Melanoma March Townsville 2022.
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