My name is Ben Kerslake, on the 19th of November 2014, I underwent a scan for a severe headache. I was immediately admitted to hospital when a golf ball sized tumour in my brain and many other throughout my body were discovered. Following brain surgery to remove the main tumour, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma and was told to only expect a few months left to live.
I was 32 years old.
Watching my wife break down when this news was delivered and thinking of my two young children, I decided then and there not to accept what I was being told. I was not going to leave my family behind.
I'll never forget that feeling when I learned I had melanoma.
"I'm sorry. It is melanoma. I want you back tomorrow for a wider incision and further tests."
What? Me? Not possible.
Yes, definitely possible. Probable, even, given my beach-babe history, he tells me.
Having had more than 16 melanomas removed, Claude knew he was on borrowed time. 16 years later and he's melanoma free.
Vanessa McPhee is on a mission to save a life by raising awareness of melanoma. She has started her own Facebook page, A Mother's Melanoma, to help raise awareness of melanoma. Vanessa did her first Melanoma March in Adelaide in 2015, and with her team, raised over $1000 for melanoma research.
In 2006 at the age of 22, Kristen was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma.
"Only old photos tell the story now but throughout my life I always had a freckle/mole on my left temple. Now that I look back, when I was younger it was small and light brown nothing to be ‘worried about.’ As I got older, the mole on my temple grew and it got darker and darker. Now I look back, there were signs, small ones but they were there. The fact that the mole was on my face meant I saw it everyday, it was ‘normal,’ it was kind of my trademark."
In 2011, 25 year old Emily Clohesy was worried about a mole on her back and went to the doctor to have it checked. It was diagnosed as a stage 3 melanoma. Emily had to have her lymph nodes removed from her groin and now lives with lymphedema.
In January 2012 Karen Van Gorp had a mole removed and was told she had 'clear margins'. She had one follow up but was not really aware of her increased risk of further disease.
In February 2013 Karen discovered a lump under her right arm and was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. It was at this point that her life was turned upside down. She stopped working but had hope the surgery would remove all of the cancer.
As reported in The Advertiser March 21 2015
A tap on the back at the cricket may well have saved Meagan Snewin's life.
Meagan, who is an avid sports fan was at Adelaide Oval three years ago watching a West Indies Test match with girlfriends when she felt a tap on the back and a male voice said: "Excuse me, I'm a doctor".