Beloved teacher shares melanoma warning
HE IS known around Bundaberg as legend, he likes to go by the name Sully and he wants to spread a message to save lives.
Semi-retired Bundy school teacher Shane Sullivan has taught more than 5000 students since he picked up his first piece of chalk more than 40 years ago.
He's also a familiar face in the Bundaberg rugby league scene, having been a coach.
In news that has shocked and saddened many of those students, the popular 66-year-old was diagnosed with malignant metastatic melanoma.
Now he hopes he can spend his time warning others to cover up and protect their skin from the sun.
As a legacy Sully plans to make a video to show students and children what can happen if they don't slip, slop, slap.
"It's a serious concern here in Queensland and I am all for no hat, no play," Sully said.
"I'll put up a slide of the photos and a five-minute clip about sun safety and hopefully it will mean a little more to people as one of their own has it and wants the message to stick.
"Melanoma is fast spreading and when it takes hold, it's got you."
Sully had skin grafted from his leg and 36 staples after the surgery to remove the melanoma on the back on his neck, which was diagnosed in October.
The deadly melanoma was the size of a pea but flat and as black as a charcoal.
"I was overseas when I felt something in my hairline," Sully said.
"I waited until I got back to Australia but it was just so fast spreading.
"If you notice anything unusual, just get it checked."
Cancer is not new to Sully - his wife had ovarian cancer and stomach cancer, which ultimately claimed her life.
Sully is now waiting to see if he can have radiation to reduce any cancerous tumours.
Sully said he had lived an adventurous life and had been around the world - but if he could do it again he would have slipped, slopped, slapped.
On Australia Day past students, friends and relatives gathered at the East End Hotel after hearing the news of Sully's cancer.
The larrikin was there in his party hat to enjoy what may be his last Aussie Day celebration.