March to fight one of Bay's greatest killers


Cancer survivors are on a mission to raise awareness of one of the Bay's greatest killers, with a Melanoma March around the Mount on Sunday, March 3.

Ellen Orr is inviting people to equip themselves with a gold-coin donation, hats and sunblock for the event, which is expected to attract more than 100 people.

More Kiwis die of melanoma than car crashes every year. Also, the rate of melanoma in the Bay of Plenty is one of the highest in the country.

Mrs Orr urges: "Get your skin checked. If there's anything unusual, cut it out. Melanoma can disguise itself."

Mrs Orr began her fight with melanoma five years ago, when she noticed an unusual cyst on her head. She's been in control of the cancer since then but recognised she was one of the lucky ones.

She lost three members of her small melanoma support group last year - the youngest was only 33. "People don't realise it's a serious form of skin cancer."

Fellow organiser Bernice Smith is a newcomer to the group. She said the march was about "support from the public and awareness to the public - melanoma can strike anywhere, anytime".

All funds raised will go to the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand. Spot prizes, including accommodation in Rotorua and Skyline passes, are up for grabs.

Walkers are to meet outside the Mount Maunganui Surf Club at 3pm.

The walk ties in with the inaugural Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ, where participants leave the Mount for a 600km jet-ski journey to the Bay of Islands over six days, starting March 4.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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