A Riverina charity’s quest to reduce the prevalence of melanoma and other skin cancers in the region has just become a little easier with a new set of wheels.
The MIA Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust was founded in 2010 in honour of Amie St Clair, who died from melanoma in 2009 when she was just 23.
“Amie was diagnosed back in 2007 when she was 20 with melanoma, after noticing a lump in her right groin,” her mother Annette St Clair said.
“She tried lots of different types of treatment: there was surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy.
“She was often heard telling people, ‘I have this cancer called melanoma and I’m going to fight it’, but sadly, the day after her 23rd birthday, she passed away.
“We picked up from where she left off.”
Ms St Clair is now the community engagement manager at the trust, which is dedicated to working towards a future without skin cancer.
She said the support from the Riverina community and businesses had been strong – and included a $15,000 donation from Wagga Motors.
“Our aim is to increase awareness of melanoma and skin cancers; we want zero deaths from melanoma,” she said.
“The Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust has become a very well-respected charity locally, and we’ve been so successful due to the generosity of wonderful communities.”
In 2012 the dealership gifted the trust a car, which had been used until it was recently traded in.
Dealer and principal of Wagga Motors Scott Braid said the decision to support the melanoma trust in purchasing a new vehicle had been an easy one.
“There’s a long history between skin cancer and the Braid family,” he said.
“It’s a history that you don’t want to have, but we do, and we wanted to support a local charity.
“Being a car dealer, we had the immediate thought of providing a motor vehicle.”
Ms St Clair said a vehicle was necessary for the melanoma trust’s work, given the size of the Riverina.
“We cover a very large area from Griffith, Lake Cargelligo, West Wylong, Young, Tumut and smaller towns in between,” she said.
“The car gets used by our melanoma care nurse, and this enables her to travel around the Riverina to visit our patients.”
Mr Braid said he hoped the vehicle would help the melanoma trust team with its work in the Riverina.
“At the end of the day, their role is to get out and about in the community,” he said.
“If they can get in front of people to share different stories, to share truths and educate people, hopefully they’ll move the needle on people’s awareness and perception of appropriate sun protection.”
Many people needed to stop thinking of skin cancer as something that just wouldn’t happen, Mr Braid said.
“Prevention is better than cure, but unfortunately, we have a bit of a societal approach [to melanoma] of she’ll be right,” he said.
“But it does happen, and you can get skin damage as a minor and skin cancer won’t pop up until years down the track.”
The Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust has also organised a free Mole Check for Amie Day, to be held on 16 September from 9 am to 3 pm.
“We have local GPs who are doing these skin checks on the day,” Ms St Clair said.
“That is so you can have follow-up treatment with your local doctors, so it’s not just a one-off skin check.
“We know that continuity of care is another positive thing.”
The public can register for the Mole Check for Amie Day via Eventbrite.