Family of 8-year-old with melanoma calls on all Australians to step up to help save lives

Family of 8-year-old with melanoma calls on all Australians to step up to help save lives

26 March 2021

Little Hayden Price was just 7-years-old when his parents noticed what they thought was an irritated skin tag on the back of his scalp. The adventurous school boy, who loves swimming and playing with his two older brothers Harry (10) and Hugh (11), began complaining that his goggles and hats were rubbing a sore spot on the back of his head.

His parents Liza and Nathan were shocked when a trip to the GP in Singapore, where they live as part of the Australian expat community, revealed the spot was in fact a melanoma.
Little Hayden underwent surgery to remove the melanoma early last July, just one day after his 8th birthday.

‘We just didn’t think that children as young as Hayden could get melanoma,’ said his mum Liza. ‘It just never crossed our minds that a cancer diagnosis was even possible. Hayden has never been sunburnt in his entire life so we were absolutely stunned and devastated.’

Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) Co-Medical Director, Professor Richard Scolyer, who is the world’s leading melanoma pathologist, confirmed the difficult diagnosis. He said whilst melanoma is rare in young children, it does happen, and in Hayden’s case, his melanoma is a sub-type not related to sun exposure.

‘It is a dangerous misconception that melanoma is just an older person’s disease that occurs after decades of sun exposure,’ Professor Scolyer said. ‘Melanoma is in fact the most common cancer in 15 to 39 year old Australians, and whilst rare, we do also see a handful of cases each year in younger children.’

With Hayden’s melanoma already having spread to his lymph nodes, his case was referred to MIA Co-Medical Director and medical oncologist, Professor Georgina Long AO. Professor Long presented Hayden’s case at MIA’s weekly Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting where a cohort of leading clinicians brainstorm and discuss complex cases. A treatment plan was then agreed on with Hayden’s treating oncologist in Singapore.

‘Hayden was immediately started on immunotherapy, a breakthrough treatment which harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer cells,’ Professor Long said. ‘Had Hayden been born less than a decade earlier, this treatment would not have been available.’

Hayden has so far had 11 infusions of immunotherapy, and has six more to go. His family hopes he will be one of the lucky ones who responds to the treatment. They are anxiously awaiting results of follow up scans to see if the melanoma cells in his little body have been halted, slowed or killed.

‘We feel extremely fortunate that we have amazing specialists treating Hayden, combined with the availability of immunotherapy which was not available prior to 2017,’ Liza said. ‘This gives us tremendous hope for the future.’

The Price family, originally from Brisbane and Lismore, has decided to speak out and share their heartbreaking story to inspire Australians to rally and support research into new melanoma treatments, like the one they are confident will save Hayden’s life.

‘It was a difficult decision to go public with our story as we are in the middle of it, however we wanted to share this important message,’ Hayden’s dad Nathan said. ‘If you have doubts about changes in your child’s skin, including moles, bumps or lesions, please have them checked by a specialist, even in young kids.
‘Research into melanoma is changing lives for many families including ours, so please contribute by purchasing digital footprints supporting the Melanoma March campaign, if you can.’

MIA’s annual fundraising campaign, Melanoma March, is needing to raise $500,000 to support ongoing research focussing on the 50% of advanced melanoma patients who don’t respond to these new treatments. The traditional physical march events were unable to go ahead due to COVID, and were replaced with a digital campaign where people are asked to buy $30 digital footprints which they personalise with messages of hope or support. So far, $150,000 has been raised, leaving a further $350,000 to be raised to meet the target.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world with one person diagnosed every 30 minutes. 1,300 Australians are expected to die from the disease this year.

‘Our story is proof that melanoma can and does impact anyone, regardless of age, and it is up to all of us to help support our research teams who are leading global efforts to save lives from this disease,’ Liza added.
‘That’s why we have decided to share our story, so that some good may possibly come from the difficult journey that Hayden and our family are now on.

To step up for Hayden and buy digital footprints, go to www.melanomamarch.org.au

 

Odd Sock Day  

Inspired by Hayden and his love of odd socks, the Australian International School in Singapore is holding an Odd Sock Day to raise funds for melanoma research. Australian schools and workplaces are urged to join them. All Odd Sock Day donations made at www.melanomamarch.org.au are converted into digital footprints to help us cover Australia.

 

Hayden's Story on 9News 

 

Melanoma March is an initiative of Melanoma Institute Australia, incorporating melanomaWA and Amie St Clair. It is proudly supported by Melanoma Patients Australia, Australian Melanoma Research Foundation, Skin Cancer Tasmania and other melanoma research organisations across Australia.

 

MEDIA - For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Durante |Melanoma Institute Australia | 0412 798 990 | jennifer.durante@melanoma.org.au

New online calculator launched to determine risk of spread of melanoma
15 Jun 2020

New online calculator launched to determine risk of spread of melanoma

Clinicians around the world now have access to a new online calculator that predicts the risk that a patient’s primary melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Tags: melanoma
Queen's Birthday Honour for Professor Georgina Long
08 Jun 2020

Queen's Birthday Honour for Professor Georgina Long

Professor Long has been appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia (General Division) for  distinguished service to medicine, particularly, to melanoma clinical and translational research, and to professional medical societies. 

Tags: melanoma
Danny's inspiring survival story
30 May 2020

Danny's inspiring survival story

“I had a complete response within about six months. All of my tumours disappeared."

Tags: melanoma
MIA in the spotlight at ASCO virtual conference
30 May 2020

MIA in the spotlight at ASCO virtual conference

‘We are extremely proud of our ongoing contribution to the global effort to save lives from melanoma, with Dr Silva’s prestigious award proof that we continue to lead the way,'

Tags: melanoma
Professor Richard Scolyer achieves h-index of 100
26 May 2020

Professor Richard Scolyer achieves h-index of 100

MIA's Co-Medical Director, Professor Richard Scolyer, has achieved a Google Scholar h-index of 100.

How we connected at Melanoma March Virtual 2020
21 Apr 2020

See how we connected at Melanoma March Virtual 2020

We know what Melanoma March means to our community, so when we had to cancel our physical events, we created Melanoma March Virtual so that everyone across Australia could still connect to honour loved ones and support each other.

Melanoma meets its match.
07 Apr 2020

Melanoma meets its match.

A must-read personal account by Garry Maddox in The Sydney Morning Herald of how immunotherapy is revolutionising melanoma treatment.  

 

Next Steps for National Screening Program for Melanoma
23 Mar 2020

Next Steps for National Screening Program for Melanoma

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 Update
13 Mar 2020

Melanoma March Update

Melanoma March events have been cancelled. A Virtual March will be held on Sunday 29th March. Read this statement from MIA CEO Matthew Browne.   

Saving lives this summer: 'Game On Mole!'
11 Mar 2020

Saving lives this summer: 'Game On Mole!'

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.

PBS boost for melanoma patients
01 Mar 2020

PBS boost for melanoma patients

Melanoma patients now have greater access to subsidised immunotherapy thanks to additional treatments today being listed on the PBS.

An open letter to all young Australians
25 Feb 2020

An open letter to all young Australians

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.

MIA leads world-class skin tumour pathology conference
14 Feb 2020

MIA leads world-class skin tumour pathology conference

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’.

MAFS, it is time for a reality check on solariums.
07 Feb 2020

MAFS, it is time for a reality check on solariums.

It is time for a reality check on solariums.
They have no place in anyone’s beauty routine.

Community Fundraising January Wrap-Up
07 Feb 2020

Community Fundraising January Wrap-Up

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.

Kyly Clarke urges Aussies to step up to save lives from melanoma
03 Feb 2020

Kyly Clarke urges Aussies to step up to save lives 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.

Improving support for our patients across Australia.
03 Feb 2020

Improving support for our patients across Australia.

Melanoma Institute Australia has recently partnered with three other organisations to boost support for melanoma patients and their carers across Australia.   

Boost to melanoma support in WA
31 Jan 2020

Boost to melanoma support in WA

Melanoma patients and their families across Western Australia will benefit from strengthened and expanded services with the merging of melanomaWA and Melanoma Institute Australia.

New Test to Predict Primary Melanoma Progression
21 Jan 2020

New Test to Predict Primary Melanoma Progression

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.

Community Fundraising December Wrap-Up
14 Jan 2020

Community Fundraising December Wrap-Up

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.