Macarthur resident shares son's cancer journey ahead of Melanoma March

Macarthur's Jay Allen started the Melanoma March to help fund cancer research. Pictures: Supplied.
Macarthur's Jay Allen started the Melanoma March to help fund cancer research. Pictures: Supplied.

"I used to ask my doctor why it had to be Nathan, why couldn't it have been me?"

Cancer survivor Roger Giles lost his son, Nathan Giles, to stage four metatastic melanoma several years ago but the pain remains.

"He was young - in the prime of his life with a young family," the Grasmere resident said.

"He was diagnosed at 32 and we lost him five years later.

"Nathan was given six months to live but his oncologist helped to give him five years.

"His son was born just before the diagnosis and his mission was to live long enough so that that little boy would remember him - and he did."

Mr Giles is set to celebrate his son's life and raise more awareness about the disease at the Melanoma March Macarthur on Sunday, March 15.

This is the first time the event will be held at Camden Town Farm.

"There's some great facilities there and a bit of an undercover area," Mr Giles said.

"We hope to have a barbecue and some music. It'll be a great event."

Mr Giles was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004, prior to his son's diagnosis but managed to survive the cancer.

He said people needed to be aware of just how dangerous the disease could be.

"There are 18,000 new diagnoses of melanoma each year and of those numbers one in 10 will die," Mr Giles said.

"It's a disease that affects people in their 20s and 30s - just when they are reaching their prime, starting a family, have a mortgage and really beginning their lives.

"It's the luck of the draw that I am still here and Nathan isn't."

Mr Giles said helping the Melanoma Institute to fund cancer research was vital.

He said his son was resistant to the treatments available for melanoma at the time.

"The resistance is the mystery - when he was diagnosed 70 per cent of people were resistant to the treatments," Mr Giles said.

"Now they've got it down to 50 per cent - and there is hope that they could bring it down even further.

"But they need money to support their work.

"There are hundreds of researchers working hard to find the cure and keep people alive and they need our help."

Mr Giles said it was important for locals, especially young people to take extra care in the sunlight.

"This is Australia's cancer because we have a habit of not covering ourselves up," he said.

"We just need all Australians, especially the young ones, to take precaution and cover up when you're out in the sun."

For more information, to register to walk or sponsor someone who is walking in the Melanoma March Macarthur on Sunday, March 15, visit www.melanomamarch.org.au.