15-year-old melanoma survivor Toby Rayner will lead Mount Gambier's march against melanoma
28 February 2018
15-year-old melanoma survivor Toby Rayner will lead Mount Gambier’s march against melanoma. Julie-Ann Sams knows all too well that melanoma doesn’t discriminate. Life changed for her youngest son, Toby Rayner, when he was diagnosed with a rare from of iris melanoma that sadly required his left eye to be surgically removed.
Toby’s story began at his local optometrist when, in late 2014, his optometrist noticed a small
freckle in his left eye. The optometrist told Julie-Ann to keep an eye on it in case it started to cause problems. It wasn’t until August 2015 that Toby started to complain about pain in his eye and difficulty reading the board at school. It was at that point that Julie-Ann worried it might be something more than just a freckle.
Toby’s optometrist examined his eye and referred him to an ophthalmologist who then referred him to an oncologist in Melbourne for further tests. The oncologist performed a biopsy on the freckle, and unfortunately the results revealed Toby had a rare form of iris melanoma, which would require his eye to be removed.
On November 30, just three days before his thirteenth birthday, Toby had his left eye removed.
It was a life-changing event, yet Toby hasn’t let his melanoma diagnosis get him down, showing incredible bravery throughout his melanoma journey and only taking two weeks off school following his surgery.
Julie-Ann has been blown away by the support of her friends and the community, with Toby’s best friend Josh Telford shaving his head and his family hosting fundraisers to help support the family through Toby’s journey.
“My family and I only moved to Mount Gambier six years ago and we are forever grateful for the
support we’ve received from the community. We can’t thank them enough for getting us through
this difficult time,” says Julie-Ann.
Julie-Ann says she hopes this year’s Melanoma March raises awareness about melanoma and the importance of getting regular checks. This year 14,000 Australians will be told they have melanoma, one of the highest rates in the world.
Toby will be cutting the ribbon and leading out the Mount Gambier Melanoma March on 4 March to raise funds for life-saving research and to try and change that statistic for all Australians. “Melanoma doesn’t discriminate - it can affect anyone at any time. Its not just an older person’s disease; Toby is testament to that,” says Julie-Ann.
“Even if you’re sun smart, melanoma can still affect you.I It’s so important to be aware and act fast on anything you think looks suspicious as it might just save your life,” adds Julie-Ann.
Join Toby in the fight against melanoma by signing up for a Melanoma March event near you.
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