NARELLE'S MISSION: Frenchville State School teacher, Narelle Sauer who is using her voice to spread awareness about sun safety, pictured with her class and teacher's aide, Ros Bedward.
NARELLE'S MISSION: Frenchville State School teacher, Narelle Sauer who is using her voice to spread awareness about sun safety, pictured with her class and teacher's aide, Ros Bedward. Sean Fox

CQ teacher uses experiences to spread sun safety awareness

NARELLE Sauer's cancer battle began with a suspicious mole on her back.

Her husband had noticed it and urged her to get it checked by a doctor.

He urged her to go along to her doctor to get it checked, and so she booked an appointment.

After taking one look at her mole, Narelle's doctor knew straight away it would need to be taken off.

It was a week before the biopsy results come back, which confirmed it was melanoma, and Narelle was referred to a specialist.

More unwelcome news came when her specialist noticed another mole on her back prior to surgery.

The two moles, which were stage two melanomas, were removed.

"Both looked like any other mole, I was never concerned about them,” she said.

"I was so lucky they caught my melanoma relatively early, it just goes to show that you need someone else; a partner, a doctor, a friend, anyone to check.

"I was left with a large 10-15cm reminder across my back and a smaller scar in the crease of my neck, but I consider myself lucky. I never realised the severity of melanoma until I had it.”

Narelle's diagnosis has changed her life.

Since her diagnosis, the Frenchville State School teacher has used her experience to teach her pupils better sun safety in the hopes they'll avoid a similar situation in the future.

"As a teenager, I did a lot of sun baking and was always out in the sun playing sport,” she said.

"I still love going out in the sun, but I cover up as much as possible wearing long-sleeves, a hat and sun cream.”

Narelle teaches Year 2 students at Rockhampton's largest primary school, which has adopted a sun safe "no hat no play” rule, as well as additional practices to ensure students and teachers are all protected.

Three teachers at Frenchville State School have had melanomas removed in the last couple of years.

"It not only encouraged other teachers to get skin checks but it led to the school investing in long-sleeve sun safe shirts for teachers on duty at lunch time and more shaded areas being created in the playground,” Narelle said.

Narelle is helping out with Rockhampton's first Melanoma March alongside her husband, and fellow melanoma survivor, Aaron Kelly.

"We are raising awareness so that our community can learn the importance of protection against the harsh Aussie sun,” Narelle said.

"I want to make sure young parents are aware of the need to focus on teaching sun safety to their kids.”

The Melanoma March will be held on Sunday, March 4 at Victoria Park Oval to raise funds for research to find a cure.

For more information on how to register or donate to the Rockhampton Melanoma March on Sunday, March 4, go to https://mm2018-rockhampton.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home.



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