March against Melanoma
Thursday, 9th May, 2019
By Callum Marshall
Former local Tony Bosch, who’s fighting stage four melanoma, is encouraging everybody to help support ‘Jay’s Longest Melanoma March’.
The march started on March 31 and ends May 19. It involves melanoma survivor Jay Allen travelling 2000 kilometres from Adelaide to Sydney.
Mr Bosch said he had planned to meet up with Jay, donate to the cause and thank him for his advocacy but the meeting turned into something much more substantial.
“I live in Yarrawonga and work in Shepparton, there’s about an hour drive between the two, and I knew the march was in the district,” he said.
“I came across them and slowed down beside them. My intention was just to pull over and thank him for what he was doing for people like me.
“He asked about my story and I told him I was at stage four melanoma and had quite a spread through my body and that I was being treated down at Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
“He asked me which doctor I was seeing and I said Professor Grant McArthur and he asked me where I was from and I said Yarrawonga, which was another half an hour up the road.
“And he said ‘we’ll be there on Sunday night, will you be able to catch up?’”
That meeting resulted in Jay and his crew inviting Tony to join them on the next leg of the journey.
“I agreed to do that, but I was concerned about just how far I’d be able to walk because I had no preparation and I’m currently under immuno-therapy and bone cancer treatment. I wasn’t sure how far I’d get.
“But I met up in the morning and we headed out of town together and while we were walking I started hearing the stories of some others that were there.
“Some of them were really positive stories, some were sad stories, some were heartbreaking and some were inspirational.
“And the more time I spent with them, the more inspired I got and the more I just knew that what they were doing and what Jay was doing was making such a difference and would have such an impact on so many people’s lives.
“So I just kept walking and I ended up walking until lunch time which was around 20 kilometres out of town.”
Jay, who had walked 1600 kilometres as of yesterday, said he started the march because he wanted to give back to the group that had saved his life years ago.
“I was diagnosed with stage three melanoma in 2008,” he said.
“One of my lymph nodes was positive in my left groin and I had all my lymph nodes removed. There were 44 staples in my left groin.
“I was a truck driver, and so I wanted to give back to the Melanoma Institute Australia who saved my life, so I started walking to keep away the lymphedema in my leg and I thought ‘what better thing to do than to walk across the country for melanoma and try and raise a cure so that other people don’t have to die of this disease?.’”
He said the support along the March had been great and Tony’s effort amazing.
“We’ve had so many people stop us and give us donations,” said Jay. “One guy wrote a check for $3000 on the side of the road.
“I’ve also got the road crew working around the clock 24/7. I couldn’t do it alone, it’s been a massive team effort.
“But Tony was an absolute legend. I think he did about 31 or 32 kilometres. It was quite amazing what he did.”
Jay said meeting Tony had been special.
“His is the only one that stood out to me,” he said. “He was such an inspiration. We shared many tears and it’s really sad what he’s going through.
“We’re trying to get rid of this disease so we can have zero deaths from melanoma.
“We’re up to $270,000 and aiming to raise $350,000, which goes towards a clinical trial for when melanoma spreads to the brain.
“And for anyone out there, if you haven’t gone to get your skin checked, go and do it because it could save your life.”
To donate to ‘Jay’s Longest Melanoma March’ you can do so either through their Facebook page or by visiting melanomamarch.org.au and hitting the links to ‘Jay’s Longest Melanoma March.’
Donations will be open for another month after the May 19 end date.
You can also donate to Tony’s ‘Tour de Cure’ page at: https://tourdecure.com.au/