AFTER 12 months of training and preparation, two cancer survivors are set to walk from Sydney to Melbourne in a bid to fight the disease.
Jay Allen and Andrew Rust, who were diagnosed with stage three and four melanoma respectively, have already raised almost $50,000 for the Melanoma Institute Australia.
They’re calling on public support to achieve their fund-raising target of $150,000.
Lavington melanoma sufferer John Ambrose, 65, said he knew the importance of the institute’s work first hand.
He is looking to organise an event in Albury for when Mr Allen and Mr Rust arrive.
“I was diagnosed with melanoma in March last year,” Mr Ambrose said.
“I was quite ill but the treatments I’ve received have essentially put my body back to normality.
“There was nothing I couldn’t do before I was diagnosed, I can do the same things now.
“The strategy that the Melanoma Institute adopts for people like me is that if we can keep going there are more medications coming onto the market.
“So the longer you’re alive, the greater your chances are something will arrive that will be a permanent cure or far more effective than what’s available.”
Mr Allen said he wanted to “do something big” to raise awareness of melanoma.
“We want to raise $150,000, all of which will go towards a clinical trial to find out what happens when melanoma spreads to the brain,” he said.
“It’s a really important initiative to get behind.”
Mr Allen said he was diagnosed six years ago after a mole was discovered on his ankle.
“When you get a diagnosis that you might not be around, your perspective on life changes instantly,” he said.
“I was terrified.
“It’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and the fear that goes through your mind is terrible.
“You’ve just got to be around those people you love and just enjoy every day.”
The 900-kilometre journey will start in Sydney on Friday, the walkers will arrive in Albury about 4pm July 19, and will finish at the MCG on July 26.
Mr Allen and Mr Rust will speak at quarter-time in the Hawthorn and Swans match.
“If we can encourage just one person to get checked who has melanoma, it will all be worth it,” Mr Allen said.