Melanoma survivors Aaron Kelly, Kim Milner and Lee-Ann Lovegrove uniting in a bid to raise awareness of the deadly cancer.
Melanoma survivors Aaron Kelly, Kim Milner and Lee-Ann Lovegrove uniting in a bid to raise awareness of the deadly cancer.

First-ever for CQ cancer survivors

ANOTHER development for people battling melanoma is underway as Rockhampton cancer survivor Aaron Kelly continues his mission to combat the illness.

Together with fellow survivor Lee-Ann Lovegrove, Mr Kelly has dedicated his efforts to providing Central Queensland’s melanoma patients and loved ones an opportunity to support each other.

In a first-ever for the region, the pair will next week host its inaugural Melanoma Patients Australia Patients and Carers Support Meeting.

While initial plans involved an in-person support group, COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in the meetings moving online via Zoom.

Mr Kelly has been a prominent advocate of melanoma awareness across the region following his own battle with a potentially-deadly stage three metastatic melanoma at just 30 years old.

He first launched the annual Rockhampton Melanoma March three years ago and was able to once again host it this year before public events fell victim to the global pandemic.

The reason for the meetings, Mr Kelly revealed, was to foster a community where no melanoma sufferers throughout Central Queensland were isolated or alone.

“We are excited to be launching a local support group for people in the community who have been affected by melanoma,” he said.

“We aim to provide information and education about melanoma, have contact with fellow melanoma patients and survivors, as well as providing emotional support.”

Mrs Lovegrove was just a teenager herself when first affected by melanoma and is committed to supporting others through a similar journey.

The Yeppoon woman said a cancer diagnosis does not need to be a frightening or lonely experience.

“It is our intention to offer a positive upbeat support group that will share tips, tools and relevant information from guest speakers that you can start applying to your life to support yourself,” she said.

Almost 15,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 1800 will tragically die.