Under My Skin – Markets for Melanoma

Meet Donna. When not being a Supermum or Tupperware Dealer extraordinaire, she is a passionate and motivated fundraiser and Melanoma Awareness advocate. Donna’s birthday is in May, but instead of the usual birthday filled with presents and celebrations, each year Donna strives to raise money for the Melanoma Institute of Australia.

ITC first met Donna when she held a fundraiser at Blackman Park. Since that time we have watched Donna fund-raise for Melanoma on many occasions. Not only does she fund-raise but she is constantly educating people about skin care and skin cancer.

Everyone should like her Facebook page and share it with friends. Please get a group of friends together and help Donna raise money for Melanoma research.

under my skin

Your name and the name of the organisation you are associated with?

Donna Armstrong – Under my Skin/ Markets for Melanoma

How long have you lived in the Lane Cove Council Area or Close to Lane Cove?

Since 2007

Why did you like living in Lane Cove?

Why wouldn’t you like it?! Everything is on your doorstep. As a new mum, if you’re having a bad day just go for a walk into Lane Cove and you’re sure to bump into someone you know and things are a bit brighter all of a sudden

What is your favourite thing to do in Lane Cove?

Catching up with friends and having a coffee!

How did you get involved in fundraising for Melanoma?

When my eldest was just 6 weeks old I went for my check up and asked my doctor to look at my mole that I had had for years. During pregnancy it had changed. I was told it had to come out right away. Before I knew it was I sent to a specialist and he was saying the words “we think it’s Melanoma. But it’s not a death sentence these days” all I heard was death sentence. I was lucky, we had caught it early. I was ok. Later that year my husband was talking about a guy he worked with and how every year for his birthday he “gave back” to the community. I decided that I was going to give back by Fundraising for Melanoma, I would help those who weren’t well enough to get out there and raise the funds themselves.

Why are you so passionate about this cause?

So many people don’t understand Melanoma. They put it in the “it’s just skin cancer, I’ll just get it cut out” bracket. It’s not that simple, I so wish it was! I want to get people to take the time to look after their skin. Melanoma kills one person every 6 hours. That’s huge. Most of the time its right there in front of you, get a skin check. Stop putting it off! It could save your life.

How many hours a week to spend on this cause?

I have my biggest ever event in under a month. So right now it’s on my mind 24/7. How can I make it bigger and better? I would probably put 15 hours a week in. Just ask anyone who knows me, I’m driving them mad by talking about it all the time!

Is there anything Lane Cove can do to support your efforts?

There are a few things! Come along to the night and support the small businesses that will be there. If you have a business perhaps you could sponsor the night or donate a prize to my mega lucky door prize pool Tell your friends about the night! BOOK HERE

What can improve in Lane Cove?

Shade in parks. It’s not hard. It amazes me that we are building new playgrounds with no shade.

Any other general comments?

Be sun aware. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones get burnt, it increases your chances of Melanoma. Get yourself and your family skin checks every year, even the kids! If you are unsure, speak to someone! And if there is someone you care about who has a mole that just isn’t right, speak up! Get them to get it checked.

Join us at Donna’s Markets for Melanoma, on Friday 13th May 2016 – Details and booking HERE.


Donna’s Story

My passion for this is because in 2010 things were as good as it gets. Neil and I had a new born baby who was perfect in every way. We were living the life of new parents, we had no idea what we were doing but loving every minute of it.

I went for a normal check up at my GP and while there asked my GP to check a mole that I had. It had been there a while and had always had it checked but it had changed since the last time. It was darker and bigger. The GP took one look at it and told me it had to come out. Soon. I had my baby with me and didn’t want to get it done there so made an appointment for the next week.

I went back the next week and had my mole cut out. It was on my back, near my right shoulder. My GP told me not to worry. It was probably fine. She would call me as soon as she had the results. I got a call a few days later. She wanted me to see a specialist. The results were inconclusive. The specialist would explain it to me in more detail.

A few days later I went to see the specialist. He explained that it could be Melanoma. But it might not be. They needed to take more away from where the mole was to be sure. To be honest I don’t remember a lot of what he said. I do remember him saying the survival rate was very high these days, it wasn’t a death sentence. I kept thinking of that ad that was on TV. The one where the mum had lost her battle. I didn’t want that to be my story. I had a new baby. Didn’t he know I had a new baby? This couldn’t be happening to me. So I decided it wasn’t happening to me. I couldn’t freak out over what might be. There was a good chance it wasn’t, that’s what I decided to focus on.

A few weeks later I had day surgery. I decided not to tell my Family and Friends. I needed to know what I was dealing with before I told people. I needed to get my head around what was going on. Did I mention I had a new baby? That was my focus. I know now that not telling people was a mistake, yes I was being selfish. But I didn’t want to worry people and I didn’t want to hear everyone’s story.

donna scar melonoma

I went back to the specialist to find out what the news was. I was ok. I WAS OK. It wasn’t Melanoma but it was a very bad mole, had I of left it my story would be very different. I need to have skin checks every 6 months as I am clearly high risk and if I ever notice a change in a mole I’m to go right back!

I now have a big scar on my back. Maybe 10cm. It’s a big reminder for me. A reminder that my kids need sun care. That we all need suncare!

donna and her family

Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]

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