Danielle McKenzie lives in Brisbane and works as a radiographer. She loves hiking, camping, enjoys playing golf and dreamt about the future with her partner, Adam.
“I’m really sorry to tell you this, but I think it’s melanoma”. They are words no one wants to hear.
In 2017, Adam was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma. At the time of his diagnosis, Adam was just weeks into starting his dream job. “When Adam came home from his very first shift as a paramedic, he couldn’t talk. It had already spread to his brain. He never went back to work.” Just three months later, Adam sadly passed away. He was only 29.
“Adam was fit, healthy and extremely energetic. We completed Everest Base Camp just months prior to his late stage diagnosis. Adam’s story shows that melanoma can affect anyone. It highlights the importance of finding out your family history and also the need to trust your own instincts, consider a second opinion, or speak up. Adam’s disease was very late stage by the time he was diagnosed. The prognosis given at diagnosis would have been extremely poor but we together decided not to find out. Instead we focused on the hope we got from a visit to Melanoma Institute Australia and the advancements that were and are constantly being made in melanoma treatment options.” Danielle said.
In Adam's words, working as a paramedic was about "saving lives" and helping others. Dannielle is now proud to continue Adam's legacy of helping others. She shares his story in the hope of giving other young people a chance that he never had. Adam's story encompasses a very important message that having naturally olive skin does not protect you from melanoma and also highlights the need for advancements in research.
Adam was a strong, positive, energetic person who was loved by many. His story is already having a huge impact. A Melanoma March team was created in his honour in 2018 and raised more than $10,000 in just a few weeks. Hundreds of Adam’s friends have booked skin checks in his honour. One of Adam's close friends had an insitu melanoma cut out just a few months after Adam passed away.