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When the UV index is low, sun protection is generally not needed unless outside for extended periods

UV observations courtesy of ARPANSA

Here, we honour those who have left us but whom we will never forget.

Each taken too soon by melanoma.  Each inspiring us to work on.

If you would like your loved one added to our tribute page please contact us.

Aaron Thomson

Newlywed Aaron Thomson – a self described “average bloke” – was just 26 when he learned he had less than 12 months to live. Being a hard worker and young, health was not high on his radar. In January 2009 he noticed a crack appear on his heel which would bleed occasionally but then get better. Aaron always had dry and cracked heels from his work boots and didn’t think much of it.

Twelve months later, Aaron noticed an abnormal lump behind one of his knees. Eventually on 23 December 2010 Aaron was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma with a biopsy on the heel revealing it as the primary site. Scans soon proved the cancer had spread and Aaron was given a year to live. At the same time his wife, Rhiannon, discovered she was pregnant with their first child.

Over the following months Aaron underwent surgery, chemotherapy, a clinical trial and radiotherapy.  In September 2011, just two days after the birth of his baby boy, Aaron tragically lost his courageous battle with melanoma. Throughout his battle, Aaron’s determination to help others avoid his situation was truly inspirational. He asked for his story to be heard to help educate people about melanoma.

Aaron said "Don’t think you’re bulletproof. Don’t be afraid to discuss problems with your mates and see your doctor on a regular basis.

Look out for your mates. Be willing to talk about health with friends and workmates. If you notice someone struggling, don’t let up until they see a doctor.

Take note of your body. Over a year passed before Aaron got checked out and another nine months for the correct diagnosis. Ask for a second opinion if you want it.

Remember, it won’t be you who is most affected by your sickness or passing."

Sam Hughes

Sam, or Sambo as he was known to basically everyone, was a Dad, a Husband, a Son, Brother, Uncle and Friend to so many.

He worked hard as a tradie out in the sun to support his family and he played just as hard.

2009… Sam had a mole removed from the back of his head. He had put off for years getting it checked. Biopsy came back as a Level 3 Melanoma. We both had no idea how bad this was, at the time, our thoughts were “It’s just skin cancer right?!”

The melanoma was removed with wide incision surgery, a skin graft put in place to heal the hole left and also 4 nodes removed from the base of his head. We were told "it looks good, we got it all!" Happy Days. So we went back to the long working days, eating like we shouldn’t and just living to pay bills and the mortgage.

March 2014….. Sam was 5 Years Clear of Melanoma. No evidence of Disease.

September 2014… Sam felt unwell and his stomach blew up to look 6 months pregnant. Off to hospital we went. Melanoma was back with a vengeance. This “thing” 5 years ago that was “just skin cancer” had turned into stage 4 metastatic melanoma. We were told there was no cure.

How was this happening? It was “just skin cancer”

So fast forward to Christmas and the trial medicine Sam is on, is working. Very little evidence of disease and large tumours are reduced to tiny specs!

March 2015, the scans come back with the horrible news that the tumours have grown and returned. Between March and August 2015 tumours popped up in Sam’s brain, lung, adrenal gland, liver, pelvic region, bowel as well as a tumour which wrapped around the main artery in his leg which lead through his lungs and up to his heart.

After all the operations, trial and immunotherapy drugs, Sam grew his Angel Wings on the 30th August 2015. I cannot even describe the pain, loss and holes we have in our hearts. More than anyone, that of Sam’s 6 year old little boy who idolised his dad.

It should never be thought of as “It’s just skin cancer” and “I’ll just get it cut out”. If it isn’t caught early enough, there is NO cure. Please stop and think about that. Prevention is better than anything and no tan is worth dying for!

Sam loved life, his wife, son, family and friends, but he never truly lived and appreciated life until he got this terrible diagnosis. My god, did he fight, he was so strong and so powerfully positive and truly loved and appreciated every second with those he loved. He lived every single minute being present. Please do not wait to “live your dash” as Sam would say, until you get a terrible life changing diagnosis.

Life shouldn’t be about stressing about making mortgage payments, staying in a job you hate, working 24/7 to own materialistic objects. It’s about making memories and having experiences with those you love and truly taking in every.single.second.

In the end we only have memories, and that's all your loved ones hold onto if they lose you.

This is Sambo’s Legacy and this is our Tribute to our beautiful Angel. Please prevent and protect yourself from Melanoma and please spread awareness x