On the Spot for 35 years

The Hunter Melanoma Foundation’s (HMF) mission is a simple one: to defeat melanoma in the Hunter region.

This year is a time for celebration for HMF, as they recognise 35 years of being a registered charity, and there is a lot to be proud of. In the 1980s when Newcastle had the highest incidence of melanoma in Australia, local surgeon, Dr Bob Sillar and his colleagues co-founded the Newcastle Melanoma Unit to save patients having to travel to Sydney for treatment.

Shortly after, HMF was formed to support the continuation of the unit, and to drive profound community change around melanoma.

Since 1988 HMF has worked to raise awareness and to educate the community on the importance of early detection and prevention, providing vital support services to those affected by melanoma, and supporting research.

HMF Executive Officer, Claudia Tolhurst said it is impossible not to be filled with admiration and gratitude for what has been accomplished over those 35 years.

“From education and awareness campaigns to providing practical and emotional support to melanoma patients and their families, our community has been, and will continue to be at the forefront of everything we do at HMF.

“Whilst Newcastle no longer has the highest incidence of melanoma in the country, we are still in the top 25 LGAs in NSW, which is a reminder of how far we have come, but also of the work that is still to be done,” Ms Tolhurst said.

With community being at the heart of everything HMF does, all campaigns and activations have centred around providing locals with the tools and education to prevent and detect melanoma.

One of HMF’s most successful campaigns is Spot Check, which provides locals the opportunity to receive a free skin check. Since 2020, 1217 individuals have taken up that opportunity. From this, 239 required further investigation, including 58 suspected melanomas.

“All our education and awareness campaigns have made a positive impact on our community in some way. However, Spot Check has an ongoing impact not only through the life-saving results but via important conversations that people start having around checking and protecting their skin,” Ms Tolhurst said.

HMF has traditionally funded all projects through the generosity of the local community through donations, memberships, bequests, grants, and fundraising efforts.

“Nothing beats our local community, who know that when they support HMF they are supporting the people who live within the Hunter,” Ms Tolhurst said.

HMF has been On the Spot for 35 years and will continue to be the leading not-for-profit organisation in the Hunter working to defeat melanoma and support those impacted for many years to come.

Become a HMF member to be among the first to know about upcoming Spot Checks, fundraisers and more. For as little as $11/year you will support HMF to continue to bring life-saving programs to the local community.
Go to HMF.org.au for more info.