In 2014, Ron was diagnosed with melanoma after he noticed some changes in a large mole on his back. The melanoma was successfully removed, but Ron relapsed 18 months later – this time, the cancer had spread to his lung. Luckily, the melanoma was detected early and successfully treated through keyhole surgery.
Ron went on to receive the BRAF drug that works like immunotherapy. After 8 weeks the tumours were gone – he had a very quick response and continued receiving the drug as a preventative treatment. However, just a few weeks ago, Ron experienced acute abdominal pain and the cancer was shown to have come back in his intestine and the lymph nodes near his spine. Ron has just undergone surgery to remove these tumours and while he says he’s disappointed not to have the “shark bite” scar that he wanted, he’s recovering well and had his first post-surgery meat pie this week!
Throughout his long and arduous battle with cancer, Ron has proudly displayed his Unite to Fight Cancer Ambassador jersey hanging beside his bed in Peter Mac, where it serves not only as a source of pride and inspiration for Ron and those around him, but also as a recruitment tool – Ron is encouraging everyone in his circle to saddle up and stand shoulder to shoulder with him in his fight against cancer.
Explaining the initial motivation for his support of Peter Mac, Ron tells us that he was inspired by an oncologist in a Peter Mac waiting room, after receiving his diagnosis.
“I was looking around, watching everyone walking up and down the corridors. Everyone had a goal, a mission, and a patient to attend to. I thought, ‘How do these people do this every day? How do we help them?’ I saw an advert for the Ride to Conquer Cancer (now Unite to Fight Cancer) and decided to take part with my brother. Together, we raised $7,000”.
“The buzz and emotion I felt when I crossed the finish line with my brother was very raw. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck and it even brought a tear to my brother’s eye! Knowing what we had done, that we had somehow helped, was the best feeling. So it grew from there and I promised myself I would do it every year. I’m so proud to say that this year, we’re expecting to hit a 5-year fundraising total of $100,000”.
Sometimes, it can be easy to view cancer in the context of abstract statistics and 5-year survival rates; but behind every cancer diagnosis, there is someone like Ron, with a story like Ron’s. Every morning, across Australia, thousands of families wake up and gather all of their strength, just to face another day. With your support, we can make sure that Peter Mac has the tools to fight cancer, so that folks like Ron and his family can look to the future with a smile of hope.
Ron’s commitment is an inspiration to us all. He has put his travel plans on hold so that he can ride alongside his teammates on 27 October. He’ll be heading off on a well-deserved holiday the day after the event. We reckon he’s earned a few beers on his trip to help lighten his heavy legs!
If Ron can juggle the demands of his surgery and treatment with training and fundraising, we reckon you can find the time to saddle up, don your Lycra and unite with thousands of amazing Victorians like him in backing Peter Mac’s fight against cancer.