DUNCRAIG father Rick Evans knows all too well just how devastating melanoma can be but he never lets it get him down.
In 2013, he had a small mole removed from his back and didn’t think any more of it until two and a half years ago when a cyst under his shoulder started bothering him.
Testing revealed the cyst was stage 4 melanoma that had spread to his lung, liver and bowel.
Mr Evans was treated with a targeted therapy, holding the melanoma at bay by shrinking the tumours.
Early last year, he was visiting family in the UK when he woke up one morning feeling numb on one side.
He was rushed to hospital and required emergency surgery to remove melanoma legions that had grown in his brain.
He returned to Perth in February and planned to lead the 2017 Perth Melanoma March to raise awareness and funds for melanoma research.
However, following his surgery, he suffered a bleed in his brain, which required a second craniotomy.
Despite his eagerness, Mr Evans ended up being admitted to hospital the day before the march.
Instead, his17-year-old daughter Wrana gave an emotional speech about her father’s battle with melanoma.
Following his surgery, Mr Evans was placed on an immunotherapy combi trial that required him to undergo four double infusions over nine weeks.
By June, there was no evidence of melanoma in his scans.
At age 42, Mr Evans still lives with the burden that his melanoma may return.
In February, he had to undergo an exploratory craniectomy for what was thought to be another melanoma legion but turned out to be an infection between his skull and his brain, requiring his skull to be partially removed to reduce the pressure on his brain.
Despite his tough battle, Mr Evans remains positive and thankful that his life was saved by clinical trials made possible by melanoma research.
He is passionate about preventing melanoma and has worked with melnomaWA, speaking at school and workplace tours to spread awareness about sun safety.
Despite still recovering from his recent brain surgery, he is passionate about marching with his son and daughter by his side at the Perth Melanoma March on Sunday, April 8.
“Like so many young people, I thought I was bullet proof and that something like melanoma would never affect me but the reality is, melanoma is the most common cancer among 15 to 39 year olds,” Mr Evans said.
“Research is so important; without it we wouldn’t have these new treatments that save so many lives.
“I still hear unfortunate stories of those whose melanoma hasn’t responded to the treatments currently available and that’s why we need to fund research to find new treatments, and hopefully a cure.”
This will be the seventh annual Melanoma March, taking place from 7.30am at Cottesloe Beach.
Participants will walk about 4km with the option to run 10km.
To register, go to www.melanomamarch.org.au.