Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (09:33): Jay Allen is currently on the road somewhere between Gerringong and Kiama. He’s on day 6 of a walk to raise awareness and funds for research into melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. He’s been doing walks like this since 2014. He’s clocked up hundreds of kilometres and raised a lot of money—more than $1 million. He’s accompanied on this walk every day and every kilometre by Michelle Kitcheman, Emma Page, Ashleigh Piek, Greg Bond and Kaylah Brown. Jay, Michelle and Emma are all melanoma survivors. Ashleigh, Kaylah and Greg have lost people that they love—Ashleigh’s mum, Kaylah’s brother and Greg’s sister-in-law. They’re walking more than 300 kilometres over ten days, and they finish at Government House on Sunday. I had the honour to be with them as they set off from Canberra last Friday.
A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with melanoma. I’m one of the lucky ones. I spotted a mole on my leg, I noticed it had changed colour, and so I contacted my doctor, and she said, ‘Let’s cut it out.’ And I’m glad we did. That decision saved my life.
Hayley is not so lucky. Hayley Bourke is 37. She’s only been sunburnt twice in her life. She was diagnosed with melanoma in 2006, when she was 21. It started with a freckle on her shoulder. The melanoma was removed, but 10 years later she found a golf-ball-sized lump under her armpit. She’s battled stage 4 cancer for six years and undergone countless surgeries and treatments. Hayley has been told that she’s only got days or weeks left to live. But she was there on Friday. She came because she wants to help save our lives and, as she spoke to the crowd, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Summer starts tomorrow. Please, please, book a skin check. See your doctor. Think about Hayley and the extraordinary woman that she is and will always be and the love that she showed us on Friday. Get a skin check. It could save your life.