Nelson Cancer Society manager Michelle Hunt is grateful for a bequest from David Blunt which will allow them to provide 1000 skin checks. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Lifesaving bequest to for skin cancer checks

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David Blunt had some brushes with skin cancer during his 81 years, but before he died, he was able to afford skin checks, a service he realised would be out of reach for many Nelsonians.

The generosity of David’s bequest has made it possible for the Nelson Cancer Society to provide 1000 vouchers annually for locals.

Each voucher amounts to $75 towards a skin check from your GP or skin care professional.

Michelle Hunt, manager at the Nelson Cancer Society, says David was an avid outdoorsman and friend to the society who wanted to make skin cancer checks more accessible. He died last February.

“He wanted to take away that initial financial barrier,” says Michelle.

“He often used to pop in for cups of tea with us and we had a really close relationship with David. He’s been a great supporter over the years.”

The voucher scheme is all part of their sun smart message leading into summer.

In New Zealand, 82,000 Kiwis are diagnosed annually with skin cancer and more than 500 die each year from melanoma which is more than road deaths, says Michelle.

“Hopefully those numbers will scare people into being sun smart,” says Michelle.

She says the Nelson Cancer Society have held day-long skin check clinics in the past, most recently in Murchison.

“With two GPs trained, we could only get to 50 people. We thought ‘this is going to take us forever to get to everyone in the region’,” she says, and that’s where the idea for the vouchers was born.

Michelle says skin checks are usually two sessions with a GP and, after speaking with local GPs, the $75 mark should cover most of that cost.

“People think it’s older people that develop skin cancer but it’s not. It’s about sun exposure.”

The society recommends getting skin checks annually.

“Prevention is the key and early dedication. Prevention and early detection are lifesaving,” says Michelle.

You can apply to get the vouchers via https://cancernelson.org.nz/cancer-support/skin-check-voucher/.