Our celebrity ambassadors are an important part of the MIA family. They generously take time out of their demanding schedules to help us with our events and the promotion of melanoma awareness. Our ambassadors are as committed to our fight against melanoma as we are, and we are so grateful for everything they do for us!
26 year old Cate Campbell is used to being in the national spotlight – a world record holder, Olympian and national swimming champion, she thrives on a challenge. One national title she wasn’t vying for, was to be diagnosed with Australia’s national cancer – melanoma.
Cate’s outdoor lifestyle, coupled with her fair Scottish complexion, put her at high risk of developing skin cancer. However, it was only after a friend had a close call with melanoma that she went for an overdue skin check. A mole on her arm was removed, which turned out to be Stage I melanoma.
Cate knows she is one of the lucky ones. Her melanoma was caught early and cured with surgery alone. After her diagnosis, she was shocked to learn that melanoma kills one Australian every five hours and is the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39 year old Australians.
“Melanoma affects so many people, not just the people who are diagnosed, but their friends and families as well. The ripple effect is huge. My melanoma developed in a mole I’d had my whole life, and on the surface, nothing looked like it had changed. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t had my skin checked. I hope that by sharing my story I can encourage young Australians to not only be sun-safe, but also vigilant about checking their skin.”
Shannan Ponton is proof that melanoma can strike anyone. Shannan was holidaying in Bali with his wife when she noticed a suspicious looking mole on the back of his thigh. She booked him in for a skin check immediately on his return to Sydney – it was melanoma.
Shannan says he’s one of the lucky ones, as despite undergoing two rounds of surgery and now sporting a 20cm scar, his melanoma hadn’t spread. With his mum also having fought her own melanoma battle, Shannan is passionate about helping Melanoma Institute Australia raise awareness about the importance of a sun-smart lifestyle, as well as vital funds for melanoma research.
With over 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, Shannan has extensive experience and knowledge in the areas of exercise, fitness, nutrition, health, people management and the media. Shannan is a well-respected and in demand health and fitness expert having developed and delivered innovative personal training, fitness, motivational and general life solutions to many participants.
In 2017 Shannan returns to Network Ten’s The Biggest Loser: Transformed as a fitness trainer and mentor.
Sonia & Luke Lewis
Luke and Sonia Lewis know too well the impact melanoma can have on a young family. That’s why they are dedicated to helping Melanoma Institute Australia raise awareness and vital funds for melanoma research.
The Cronulla Sharks’ legend lead the Sharks to their first ever Premiership win in 2016, and was awarded the prestigious Clive Churchill Medal. Still fit and strong, Luke is again leading the Sharks pack in 2017.
Luke’s determination on the field is replicated off the field – a trait tested during his young wife’s recent battle with melanoma. Sonia was just 29 years old when she went to the doctor about a mole above her eye which had changed shape. She was twice told it was nothing to worry about, but instinct told her something wasn’t right. A third doctor agreed to remove it, and discovered it was melanoma.
After two surgeries, Sonia was left with a scar running from her forehead to her temple, but fortunately the melanoma hadn’t yet spread. When her specialist told her it may have been a different story had she waited another month before having it removed, Sonia knew her perseverance and determination had probably saved her life.
Now parents to little Hazel, Luke and Sonia are dedicated to helping end melanoma for future generations. As Ambassadors for Melanoma Institute Australia, they are passionate about promoting a sun-smart lifestyle, and also raising money to support ground-breaking research to increase survival rates for melanoma patients.
John Eales’ position as a strong rugby union player was solidified not long after his very first large-scale rugby match, when he was selected to join the The Wallabies, and to eventually become team captain. His success in the role was marked by his team’s triumphs, including winning the Bledisloe Cup, the Tri Nations and the World Cup.
John retired from rugby in 2001 as the highest scoring forward in test rugby history and one of Australia’s most successful Captains. Since John’s retirement he has applied his experience in sport to entrepreneurial means, having written two books about Leadership as well as creating a consultancy company and sports marketing company.
“In sport and business I have always looked to partner with experts. Melanoma Institute Australia are world’s leading experts in the fight against melanoma, which is unfortunately all too often referred to as ‘Australia’s cancer’. Advancements are continually allowing husbands to spend more time with their wives, parents with their children and all of us with our friends. I am proud to be involved with such an inspirational organisation.”
John now uses his profile to help many worthy causes, including melanoma research, a cause very close to his heart. John's father tragically died at age 66 from advanced melanoma which had spread to his brain. John is a proud ambassador of Melanoma Institute Australia, attending Melanoma March each year with his wife and four children.