One Australian dies from melanoma every six hours.
If Jay Allen didn’t get treatment when he did, he could have been just another of those statistics.
But the Tahmoor resident’s cancerous ankle mole was picked up early by his GP and Mr Allen has since dedicated his life to raising melanoma awareness.
Next Saturday, Mr Allen will take part in the ‘Longest Melanoma March’ to raise awareness and money for the Melanoma Institute.
The former Bradbury local will walk from Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on March 5 into Sydney’s Barangaroo on April 2.
“I have no doubt I’m going to finish it,” he said.
“I am nervous about the tough days, though.
“But I know those days will be nothing compared to what a lot of people with melanoma have to go through.”
Mr Allen said he had seen “too many good people” succumb to the terrible cancer and needed as much help as he could get to raise funds for research.
“Without funds there’s no research, and without research there’s no way to find a cure,” he said.
Mr Allen – who went through his melanoma scare in 2008 – has not been alone in his crusade to bring awareness to the cancer.
His wife Janine and good friend Anna Parkinson has been with him every step of the way.
“My wife was the person who suggested I get [my mole] checked out,” Mr Allen said.
“She has been my biggest supporter in everything that I do.
“She saved my life, I wouldn’t be here without her.”
Ms Parkinson has been helping Mr Allen get in shape ahead of his big walk.
The pair have been walking at least 15 kilometres a day in preparation for the march.
“Jay inspired me to also get involved as his passion and dedication to the Melanoma Institute is contagious,” Ms Parkinson, who will join Mr Allen for 70 kilometres between Taree and Bulahdelah said.
“Not enough people know about the dangers of melanoma or the need to contribute to help find a cure.”
Mrs Allen said joining her husband on the walk – for 21 kilometres between Coopernook and Taree – was all about showing support.
“My motivation is very personal as I have seen what Jay went through,” she said.
“It is vital that people practice a sun-safe lifestyle and listen to their partners about getting skin checks and being aware of any changes to their skin.”
More than 100 people will join Mr Allen through various stretches of his marathon walking effort, each of whom will have raised at least $1000 for the cause.
To make a donation to Jay Allen’s Longest Melanoma March head to thelongestmelanomamarch.gofundraise.com.au/page/TheLongestMelanomaMarch.