7 February 2017
“Peter doesn’t want his daughter to have the journey he had if she ends up with melanoma.” – Bettina.
So Bettina promised her husband, Peter, she would dedicate her life to helping find a cure for melanoma.
When devoted family man Peter was diagnosed with melanoma after finding a painful lump in his arm in 2014, his wife Bettina had just celebrated receiving the all-clear after treatment for thyroid cancer. They were shattered.
Peter’s doctor explained that he had a rare and aggressive form of cancer called nodular melanoma, which presents as lumps. The prognosis was grim.
“Peter regularly had his moles checked but never thought of getting lumps checked,” says Bettina.
“Having to explain his doctor visits to our daughter Madi was really difficult. I don’t wish that on anyone.”
Peter wanted to make sure his family was financially covered if he died. But what mattered most to Peter was that his four-year-old daughter Madi who has very fair skin too, could be cured if she ever got melanoma.
That is why he made Bettina promise, that whatever happened, she would devote her life to helping find a reliable and effective treatment for this deadly skin cancer, which kills one person every six hours in Australia.
A recent clinical trial led by Melanoma Institute Australia, has tripled the life expectancy of some melanoma patients. Thanks to our valued supporters, we have achieved treatment breakthroughs that were unthinkable five years ago.
And because of our supports, Peter got to participate in one such clinical trial – the only chance to extend his life. He took a drug that helps the body’s immune system shrink tumours in some patients with advanced melanoma.
However, unfortunately Peter’s cancer did not respond to this treatment. The melanoma had spread to his lungs and, tragically, he lost his life one year after his diagnosis.
But before he lost his battle, Peter donated three of his tumours to MIA’s Biospecimen Bank for the research he was so passionate about. His gift has already produced results, helping researchers understand how nodular melanoma spreads in the body.
After losing Peter, Bettina was determined to do everything within her power to help find a cure for melanoma.
Your support means the world to Bettina. Today, she is doing everything she can to fulfil her promise to Peter. After he died, she began working for Melanoma Institute Australia and now plays an important role educating school children about sun safety.
Bettina is vigilant about making sure Madi gets regular skin checks and has taught her to put sunscreen on every day and wear her hat outside.
This devoted mum knows that she can’t fight melanoma on her own. She can’t bring back Peter. But she can do her bit to cure this devastating disease.
“Peter really wanted to help as much as he could to find a cure, whether he survived or not,” she says. “He was a very good man.”
Please help Bettina keep the promise she made her dying husband Peter by giving the gift of research. You will be working with us to end melanoma for future generations.