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.
Fortunately for me, Melanoma research has enabled significant advancements in treatments in the last couple of years. I was one of the first people to undergo an immunotherapy treatment program for melanoma.
When successful, immunotherapy boosts the immune system enabling it to fight cancer cells and prevent further growth. The first drug failed and my health deteriorated quickly. The second immunotherapy drug proved more successful. I was lucky that I had more than one option, thanks to these medical advancements!
With my medical journey just beginning, I felt that I needed to do more. I began seeking alternative methods for healing in conjunction with the current medical treatments. This is when I discovered the Ian Gawler healing retreat. My wife and I attended a five-day retreat, which taught us a holistic way of healing the body through diet, meditation and the power of the mind.
This was a life-changing experience and one that I will cherish forever. I was given the knowledge and the tools to give myself the best possible chance of survival.
The combination of these two organisations – the Australian Melanoma Research Foundation and the Gawler wellness centre, saved my life.
Today, 2 and a half years after beginning treatment and adopting these other healing methods, I am cancer free!
The Kerslake Foundation has been set up to allow current and future melanoma sufferers the same education, support and empowerment that I have had during my fight against melanoma.