September 3, 2015
Aaron Thomson was just 27 when he died from an aggressive skin cancer but will continue to spread his message on men’s health via video at this year’s Henty field days.
A self-confessed “average bloke’’, Aaron filmed his own struggle with melanoma in the months leading up to his death in September 2011 – two days after the birth of his son, Patrick.
Aaron’s mother, Glenda Thomson, promised her son she would continue his wish to raise awareness of melanoma and men’s health across the nation.
Glenda, an enrolled nurse from Lameroo in South Australia, uses her leisure time to speak to sporting clubs, work places and organisations on the importance of annual skin check-ups.
Glenda helped instigate the Melanoma March in South Australia and was announced as the inaugural ambassador for the Australian Melanoma Research Foundation.
She will be a guest speaker at the Henty Machinery Field Days at the Agri-Centre and Country Lifestyle, and be based in the VIP Member Lounge, in 9th Farm Ave.
Aaron was working for Westrac Mining in Western Australia in 2009 when he was bothered by a cracked and bleeding heel.
“Over an 18 month period, five different GPs diagnosed the problem as a plantar wart,’’ Mrs Thomson said.
“In May 2009, Aaron came home to South Australia and tried to play football but didn’t have any run in his legs.
“He discovered a lump on the back of his knee and was told the tumour was benign after an MRI scan but unfortunately it was a misdiagnosis.’’
Aaron persisted and requested surgery on the tumour in September 2010 but decided to delay it until after his marriage in November.
The lump was removed the following month and confirmed as metastic melanoma, with Aaron given just 12 months to live.
He underwent surgery, chemotherapy, clinical trials and radiotherapy – all the while documenting his story on video as the illness progressed.
“He was absolutely determined not to die – Westrac Mining sponsored the production of the video,’’ Mrs Thomson said.
“Aaron finished filming on June 23 before his hospitalisation so his wife Rhiannon worked with Westrac to complete the video.
“Aaron has some key messages on the seven minute video – he encourages people to take responsibility for their own bodies, have a skin check every 12 months, and not to be afraid to discuss health problems with friends and workmates.
“The message is particularly relevant to the farming community who spend so much time out in the sun – it is so important to cover up, wear sun protection cream and a hat.
“Aaron also encourages all men over the age of 18 to have a yearly blood pressure and cholesterol check.’’
Since spreading Aaron’s message to the community, Glenda reports several lives saved after people were encouraged by his story to see their doctor and found to have melanoma.
All donations raised by the video screenings and Glenda’s talks go to the Aaron Awareness Foundation.
Glenda will tell Aaron’s story at the Agri-Centre on Tuesday at noon, Wednesday and Thursday at 2.30pm and at Country Lifestyle on Thursday at 12.35pm.
- Around 30 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma every day.
- Approximately one person dies every six hours from melanoma in Australia
- Melanoma is the cancer most likely to affect 15-39-year-olds.
- Melanoma can arise in normal looking skin, a mole or freckle.
- Melanoma, if detected and treated early, has a survival rate of almost 100 per cent.