While other 12-year-olds were hanging out with friends or catching up on homework, one Rotorua girl was cycling 80km to raise money for vital melanoma research - inspired after her dad "miraculously" overcame cancer.

Dolce Kissling Hemsworth hit the road with her mum, Frances Kissling, at the weekend, cycling four hours from Rotorua to Taupo to fundraise for Melanoma New Zealand.

Dolce said the ride was challenging but she was already thinking about her next fundraiser.

"At about the half-way mark, I thought it would be easy but there were a few hills and by the time we got to Broadlands my legs were so tired.


"Once we had reached the race track though I realised we were coming close to finishing so I just started boosting it.

"For my next fundraiser I either want to kayak across the Cook Strait or cycle around the whole of the North Island."

She said her mental state was the hardest part of the ride but she was glad she did it.

"When I first told my friends they all wanted to do it with me but as the date got closer most of them dropped out, then, a week before, the last two dropped out as well.

"They were all really supportive though, encouraging me through the whole thing."

So far, the John Paul College student has raised a total of $600 for melanoma research and wants to keep going.

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The inspiration came from Dolce's dad, Conan Hemsworth, who was diagnosed with melanoma more than seven years ago and took part in a clinical drug trial the family believe helped save his life.

Conan Hemsworth with daughter Dolce who is fundraising for melanoma research. Photo / Stephen Parker
Conan Hemsworth with daughter Dolce who is fundraising for melanoma research. Photo / Stephen Parker

"It was a miracle," Ms Kissling said.

"All the moles on [Conan's] back just disappeared. You can see the white spots where they used to be.

"We don't get told whether he was in the placebo group or the group getting the drug but we are so lucky he was a part of the trial.

"The prevalence of melanoma in New Zealand is insane, so this ride was Dolce's way of helping ensure research into drugs that could cure cancer continue."

The family were never told what the name of the drug in the trial was.

Mr Hemsworth said his cancer spread to his lymph nodes and, after getting a tumour removed seven years ago, he looked into the clinical trials available.

"There was a lot of specific criteria I had to meet to get onto the trial so I was lucky in that respect, but also lucky that I was able to afford to travel to Wellington and actually take part."

Dolce said she was young when her dad was diagnosed with cancer and "didn't know what it all meant at the time".

"Now that I'm older and understand what dad went through I want to do something to help other people benefit from melanoma research."

- To donate, go to givealittle.co.nz/cause/help4malenomanz.