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.”