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Adventure-Packed Ride In Aid Of Melanoma

6 March 2013

Adventure-Packed Ride In Aid Of Melanoma

Jet ski and adrenalin junkies will once again take to our waters this March with one mission in mind: to raise awareness of melanoma in New Zealand.

The annual Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ event, in its second year, will see 25 participants jet ski 600 kilometres over six days, navigating the South Island’s north-west coast up to the finish line in Wellington.

Melanoma survivor and event organiser, Jeremy Burfoot says the journey not only offers riders some of the most amazing coastline and scenery the South Island has on offer, but also a chance to be a part of something bigger – raising awareness of a cruel disease that is taking the lives of more than 300 Kiwis each year and affecting more than 4000.

“Kicking off this Sunday, the 2014 Ski-nZ event will be an adrenalin-packed adventure with amazing sight-seeing on a personal watercraft (Jet Ski), and all for a good cause.

“Ski-nZ riders are not only doing this for fun, but to support the Melanoma Foundation in their quest to ‘Create excellence in the awareness, education, prevention, treatment and research of melanoma in New Zealand’.”

Hailing from Auckland’s North Shore, Jeremy, a pilot and father of three, was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2005. Today, as a survivor of the disease, Jeremy is passionate about awareness and sun protection.

“More than 300 people a year lose their lives from Melanoma in New Zealand. The tragedy is that with early detection, 90 per cent of those people could have survived. Early detection is key to surviving melanoma.”

Like Jeremy, some of this year’s participants are among those Kiwis affected by melanoma in some way each year.

Doctor Tom Mulholland, an emergency department doctor and participant in the event, shares Jeremy’s passion in raising awareness of Melanoma, having treated many patients himself.

Accompanied by Director of Clinical Training at Auckland District Health Board, Dr. Stephen Child, Dr. Mulholland will be bringing a mole map camera on board the event to consult people worried about suspicious moles in the remote locations they visit.

“Ski-nZ is a fantastic way to achieve increased awareness of this disease – I am on a mission to get melanoma detected and treated early.

“You can still live an adventurous life in the outdoors without being affected by melanoma. Protecting yourself from the sun is paramount – avoiding melanoma is all about eliminating the factors that contribute to its onset,” says Dr Mulholland.

Melanoma Foundation CEO, Linda Flay says Ski-nZ will again be effective in communicating key messages about melanoma to Kiwi’s who love the outdoors.

“We are incredibly grateful for Ski-nZ’s support in reinforcing the significance of this disease in New Zealand and how important it is to prevent it.”

Ski-nZ riders will begin their journey this Sunday, departing from the Whanganui Inlet, located west of Farewell Spit then travelling to Nelson, the French Pass, around D’Urville and Stephens Islands, then on to Picton, followed by a Cook Strait Crossing to finish in Wellington.

To enter, participants were required to raise a minimum of $1,500 in tax deductible sponsorship and are encouraged to compete with fellow participants to see who can raise the most sponsorship for the Melanoma Foundation.

Along the way, supporters will have their chance to get involved at the Yamaha Ski-nZ auction night on 11 Marchin Nelson, with live entertainment and a buffet dinner.

Jeremy adds that as always, safety is top of mind for this year’s ride.

“An experienced team, including medical support, mechanics, personal watercraft experts and on-water recovery crews will be accompanying our riders right from start to finish.

“Participants are required to wear a life jacket, full face helmet, eye protection, gloves, shoes, and a full length rash suit or wet suit for sun protection and carriage of individual personal locator beacons is recommended.”

Jeremy adds: “For the 2014 event, Coastguard Boats from the Nelson, Picton and Wellington units will also be providing ‘support boat’ services. The Coastguard is itself a charity, and Ski-nZ is extremely grateful for their support.”

The event is sponsored by Yamaha, Watercraft World and GME. For more information on the event and a full schedule please visit www.ski-nz.org.

Event details

Sun 9th March: Muster in Takaka for registration, an evening briefing and barbecue.
Mon 10th March:
Whanganui Inlet around Farewell Spit and back to Takaka.
Tue 11th March:
Takaka through the Abel Tasman Park to Nelson.
Wed 12th March:
Nelson to French Pass
Thu 13th March: Day Trip around D’Urville and Stephens Islands or day off if you like.
Fri 14th March:
French Pass to Picton.
Sat 15th March:
Picton to Wellington via Cook Strait for the end of ride function.

Background on Jeremy Burfoot
• Jeremy Burfoot combines his passions of jet skis and volunteering to raise awareness on the early detection of Melanoma.
• His previous awareness-raising adventures include circumnavigating New Zealand on a jet ski and riding from London to Turkey while visiting cancer charities along the way.

Key melanoma facts
• Melanoma is the most serious kind of skin cancer and New Zealand has the highest incidence rate in the world with around 300 Kiwis losing their lives to the disease each year. In comparison, we’ve had only 254 deaths on our roads in 2013.
• While you’re more at risk if you’re over 50, with 70 per cent of melanoma cases occurring in people over 50 years old, younger people still do get affected.
• Early, routine and regular self-checking is the vital step to detecting melanoma. Don’t become another statistic – check your skin regularly and go see a doctor immediately if you notice a change because spotting the signs early could save your life.
• If it is detected early and it’s thin, melanoma can easily be treated with surgery.
• Melanoma does not discriminate – it can affect anyone, anywhere.

About the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand
The Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation supported by 10 trustees with a common purpose – to dramatically reduce the incidence of melanoma in New Zealand through excellence in the awareness, education, prevention, treatment and research of the disease.

melanoma.org.nz // facebook.com/melanomaFoundationNZ // twitter.com/melanoma_NZ

ENDS

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