A tiny spot on our skin can be hiding a mean and deadly secret beneath: Melanoma, one of the most aggressive forms of cancer of all types.
Sunshine Coast, Kawana resident, 47 year old Leanne Weyer, never imagined that a small mole on her shoulder could be rapidly spreading cancer inside. In 2015, the mole was removed and found to be malignant with stage three melanoma and a massive excision then made to remove the cancer lurking beneath.
Only months later it had spread to her lymph nodes. Leanne was now living with stage three melanoma; 13 of the 20 lymph nodes removed contained melanoma and two large tumours were found.
“After the operation to remove the lymph nodes, it was extremely painful, like ants running under your skin and I couldn’t raise my arms above my head – this is my new normal.”
Leanne was told it wasn’t a matter of ‘if, but when’ the cancer would come back and in November 2017 she was told it was back and she had 12 to 18 months to live.
“When we got the news that it was terminal, we were all just so devastated,” she said.
“It’s impossible to comprehend.”
Cancer had spread to Leanne’s pancreas and there was a shadow on her liver. From here she was facing palliative care to manage pain and end of life options.
“My new motto is ‘making memories,” she said.
“Since the diagnosis we do a lot more together. Family time isn’t taken for granted.”
Leanne has purchased gifts and written cards for every important occasion of her two children’s lives and for her husband.
“I look at a lot of things differently since this diagnosis. I see what really matters.”
“I don’t want any families to go through what Leanne’s is and mine did, so events like this are vital to help raise awareness and funds to better understand and find a cure for melanoma,” Raphael from bakslap said.
“Last year over 7,000 people from every state and territory took part in a Melanoma March, so we’re excited to bring the event to our region for the first time to inspire others, remember loved ones and get behind the cause locally.”
Leanne is facing life head on and has traveled to attended a Melanoma March since 2015 with her husband Peter of 25 years and two children Emily aged 21 and Joseph aged 18 and a crew of more than 50 wearing ‘Melanoma Mumma’ t-shirts. This year they will attending a March in their local community.
“Participating in the first awareness walk in our region feels like another lifeline for me. I feel supported.”
When: 31 March 2019
Time: 2.30pm to 6.00pm
Where: Start at Buhk Park, 167 Alexandra Headland Parade (next to Alexandra Headlands Surf Club) walking to Mooloolaba Surf Club and back (4km)
Registrations: To register for the Sunshine Coast March, to back a local team OR to donate, visit melanomamarch.org.au
Thank you Julie Coulthard from Inkee PR for writing this story. Our prayers are with Leanne and her family.