A Pawsome Story of Hope
21 February 2018
Joanne and her trusty companion Frankie spend their days spreading a message of hope in hospitals, nursing homes, even prisons. It is a long way from her darkest hour facing palliative care.
Joanne’s melanoma journey began six years ago when she had a mole removed from her thigh. Four years later the cancer returned in her groin, and she was told she had Stage III melanoma. Despite a second round of surgery, it quickly progressed to Stage IV.
“I have to confess I’m of that generation that did not put any cream on at all, it just didn’t happen,” Joanne recalls. “The only cream I put on was coconut oil, or baby oil. Now that’s probably where that melanoma started a long time ago.”
Joanne vividly remembers the discussion with her oncologist who suggested she get in touch with the palliative care unit. It is a memory she will never shake.
“Palliative care means you’re dying,” Joanne says. “It is a dreadful, dreadful disease.”
Joanne was thrown a lifeline when her oncologist at Melanoma Institute Australia suggested she try what was at the time a new treatment for melanoma. After an extended period of being very unwell, she turned the corner, and now, none of her tumours are measurable.
“Thank goodness I went to the right place at the right time, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Joanne says. “If I had presented five years ago with what I had, then there is no way I would have survived. It is only through the research done at Melanoma Institute Australia that I am sitting here today.”
Joanne and Frankie, her therapy dog, now devote their time spreading a message of hope to others.
“We’ll go anywhere won’t we Frankie, to say there is life, there is hope. The Melanoma Institute has been there for me 24/7 and I have depended on them and I will be eternally grateful for the rest of my life.
Joanne’s is the latest in a series of emotive videos launched by Melanoma Institute Australia, showing the impact of melanoma on everyday Australians. Watch her story here and join her in the fight against melanoma by signing up for a Melanoma March event near you.
On Friday, a publication that lays out the steps needed to find out if a systematic screening program for melanoma would benefit all Australians was published in the Australia & New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Melanoma March events have been cancelled. A Virtual March will be held on Sunday 29th March. Read this statement from MIA CEO Matthew Browne.
Thank you to the thousands of Aussies who bought ‘Game On Mole‘ t-shirts, took selfies, shared t-shirt pics on social media and started lifesaving conversations around sun safety and skin health.
Melanoma patients now have greater access to subsidised immunotherapy thanks to additional treatments today being listed on the PBS.
Brisbane couple Leon and Tamra Betts were, like thousands of others around Australia, on the couch watching MAFS when newlywed Natasha ran through her weekly beauty routine. When they heard the 26-year-old mention solarium use, they were shocked, and then saddened, prompting this open letter to all young Australians.
Professor Richard Scolyer, Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia, will welcome international attendees this weekend to a sold-out, two-day course on ‘Pigmented Lesions and Other Hot Topics in Dermatopathology’.
It is time for a reality check on solariums.
They have no place in anyone’s beauty routine.
Throughout January our community created, hosted and participated in some amazing events, each of them helping us on our quest to reach zero deaths from melanoma.
Australian television presenter, interior designer and mother Kyly Clarke has been announced as the new Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign Melanoma March.
Melanoma Institute Australia has recently partnered with three other organisations to boost support for melanoma patients and their carers across Australia.
Melanoma patients and their families across Western Australia will benefit from strengthened and expanded services with the merging of melanomaWA and Melanoma Institute Australia.
Australian researchers have played a critical role in the discovery of a potential new test to predict which early stage melanoma patients are at high risk of their disease recurring and progressing.
We are extremely grateful for our community fundraisers, who, even in this difficult time, have given up their time and effort to fundraise so we can continue to work towards our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
Melanoma patients are set to benefit from subsidised access to immunotherapy treatment for high risk early-stage and advanced-stage melanoma patients.
An informative article on how immunotherapy is revolutionising cancer treatment, written by Jill Margo and featured in the Australian Financial Review.
Melanoma patients and their families in the Riverina will benefit from strengthened and sustained melanoma services with the merger of the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust and Melanoma Institute Australia.
Belmont High School at Lake Macquarie has been announced winner of the 2019 SunSafe Student Ambassador Program video competition.
It’s time again to say thank you to our amazing community fundraisers!
Videos of the sessions at the recent Patient Information Evening co-hosted by Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) are now available for viewing.
MIA is well-represented in the poster sessions at the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in the USA, with four poster presentations being given by members of our translational research lab.