Yeppoon dad honoured through digital Melanoma March
Just before his 46th birthday in 2014, Lyell Duffy was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma.
The Capricornia Correction Centre prison guard and keen fisherman’s biopsy results came back as metastatic, but the melanoma was nowhere to be seen: it might have been under a nail, on the scalp, or under the skin.
Mr Duffy, husband and father of three, died nine weeks after his diagnosis.
Not-for-profit Melanoma Institute Australia is calling on all Australians to join its melanoma March campaign to raise awareness and funds to combat one of Australia’s biggest killers.
This year is the 10th anniversary of its national Melanoma March campaign.
Mr Duffy’s wife Fay said she and her children went to the march each year in Rockhampton.
“We feel that it’s our way of keeping Lyell’s legacy going, to support and encourage people to be aware of how important skin checks are in saving lives,” she said.
“Supporting the institute and research is our way of keeping that research happening and hopefully it’ll just keep getting better and better.
“Just because we’re not having the physical march this year, everyone can still get on board.”
Because of COVID-19, this year’s Melanoma March will be digital so that everyone can take part.
From today, participants are asked to buy a $30 digital ‘footprint’, which will be personalised with a message of support or hope and shared to social media.
Throughout March, Melanoma Institute Australia wants to cover its map of Australia with digital footprints, and in the process raise $500,000 for lifesaving research to develop new treatments for melanoma.
Melanoma Institute Australia CEO Matthew Browne said melanoma could affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, skin type or location.
“Melanoma is Australia’s national cancer, and no matter what part of this vast county we live in, we all have a responsibility to leave our footprint on melanoma and help save lives from this disease,” he said.
“We are now at a critical point where ongoing research is needed to focus on patients who don’t respond to current treatments.
“Every Australian can play a part in supporting this vital research by stepping up and getting involved in this year’s interactive digital Melanoma March campaign.”
Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world with one person diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes.
It is estimated 1300 people will die from melanoma in Australia this year; it is the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39-year-old Australians.
Research advances over the last decade have tripled life expectancy for melanoma patients whose disease has spread to organs like the brain, liver and lungs; however, many patients don’t respond to new treatments.