Deadly wake-up call for young mother
CHRISTMAS is supposed to be a happy time for many, however for Kim Milner and her family it was anything but.
The week before celebrations kicked off, the mum-of-two became the latest statistic in string of melanoma cases.
Removal of her cancer - a freckle, she said - resulted in 30-stitches and a 20cm scar on her upper left arm.
It was during treatment that she stumbled upon something which would quickly set in motion her new life mission.
"I saw an ad on Facebook and decided that Melanoma March would be my thing now, to bring awareness to skin cancer, because it was so left of field for me to be diagnosed," she said.
Her dedication did not go unnoticed by Rockhampton Melanoma March event organiser Aaron Kelly either.
This past Sunday, as 200 people took to Victoria Park for the event, he announced that Mrs Milner's team fundraised the largest amount, $1678, and would cut the start-line ribbon.
Mrs Milner was also asked to share her story with the crowd as guest speaker after the march had concluded.
"I was really surprised and honoured, surprised that they chose me out of a lot of amazing groups," she said.
"It was pretty cool to speak in front my group and other people to share my story."
During her speech, she took a moment to offer a word of caution to others even if they had spent much of their lives protected from the sun - like she had.
"Listen to your body, if something's not right get it checked. My doctor didn't even suspect the freckle of being cancerous, but she acted on how I said it felt. Do not take no for an answer," she said.
She also reminded participants of the important of regular skin checks as she now undergoes routine inspections every three months.
Mr Kelly said the event went off with great success and that a total of $12,000 had been raised for Melanoma Institute of Australia.
"It was a really good result, we're a small team in Rockhampton but we really punch above our weight."
Sunday's event also coincided with news that Mr Kelly would soon launch a local melanoma support group in conjunction with MIA and Melanoma Patients Australia.
"We're doing this because a lot of us found that we really had no one to turn to so we're going to try meet once a month and give these people someone to talk to," he said.