Three AFL Victoria Region Commissions are joining forces this weekend to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer during a dedicated Melanoma Awareness round on August 5. Jake Morris reports
Following on from the inaugural round created by Steve Goodie last season, a total of 70 Victorian community clubs across the AFL Barwon, AFL Gippsland, and AFL Yarra Ranges regions will take part in the initiative for the first time.
Raising over $7,000 for melanoma research last year, season 2017 is set to be bigger and better than ever, with AFL Yarra Ranges renaming Round 15 as the ‘Carolyn Goodie Melanoma Cancer Awareness Round’ following the death of Steve’s wife Carolyn from the disease in 2015.
Known as Australia’s national cancer, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 while more than 2000 Australians will die from the disease each year.
Over 2200 players, coaches, umpires and volunteers involved in the initiative will don blue and yellow armbands this weekend in the hope that it will help start the conversation about early melanoma detection and prevention.
Dedicating almost 30 years of his life as a player, umpire and president in the AFL Yarra Ranges, Gippsland and Eastern Football Leagues, Steve Goodie is now calling on the wider football community for support as he aims to reduce the number of melanoma cases in Australia.
“The biggest defence is awareness, people need to realise that this is an incredibly preventable cancer,” Steve said.
“Educating and making the community more aware of how easy it is to contract something like this is the goal.
“Most deaths from melanoma are between the ages of 18 and 39 and I believe that targeting a market like football, really hits the criteria, and puts the awareness of the dangers of skin cancer in front of mind for people.
“Tradies who spend most of their time out in the sun, if they see some of what we’re doing here and spot a mole on their mates’ back and tells them to go see a doctor, that’s the type of awareness we’re trying to create.”
CHECK out the video message below from Richmond star, Jack Riewoldt: