Reducing melanoma skin cancer rates globally

We’re a social enterprise created to reduce melanoma skin cancer rates globally. As founder, I’m in my 30’s and for the first part of my professional career I understood ‘what’ I was doing, but I was unsure of ‘why’?

It was the tragedy of losing my sister Tess to melanoma cancer in 2012 that I began searching for that ‘why’. In parallel to working full-time, I started to volunteer with Melanoma Institute Australia to learn more about this cancer and quickly discovered it was impacting thousands of families.


  • Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world
  • One person every five hours will die from melanoma in Australia
  • It kills more young Australians (20-39 year olds) than any other single cancer

Good news

Is that if melanoma is identified at an early stage, simple treatment can result in a complete cure. More good news is that research is making a difference! Over the past five years, the use of surgery plus additional treatments (targeted therapies, immunotherapies and Radiotherapy) have significantly extended life expectancy in people with advanced disease.

My ‘why’ was growing

In 2014, I still worked full-time for a company but decided to take a chance and do more in the melanoma space. Like a lot of business ideas they start as a dream and with time and definitely the help from others…over 12-months I’d organised a fundraising and awareness initiative called ‘Cycling to March’. It took me, my support drivers (mum and little sister), my family, extend family, many of Tess’s friends and, thousands of others that connected with us on the road and from around the world. It was a cycling adventure across half of Australia, an adventure that changed my life.

Finding your ‘why’

In January 2017, I headed back to the beautiful State of Queensland. It seemed like the most fitting location to base my business, because as its nickname name suggests, the ‘Sunshine State’ has the highest melanoma rate on the planet!

This made the idea of developing the bakslap all the more compelling for my team and I. Over the past few years, as someone who is a keen surfer and loves the outdoors, I’ve noticed reoccurring problems people have with applying sunscreen – and now the bakslap team has done something to solve them.


If you’re still searching, I hope you find your ‘why’ very soon. I’m thankful to have found the reason ‘why’ I’m in my business. I get to smile every day and remember my sister and we have a very clear goal – to help reduce and prevent skin cancer rates around the world. Join us on the bakslap adventure.

Raphael, the founder of Bakslap


Raph McGowan


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