Dear MIA Community,

It is with a heavy heart that we notify you that Kay Van Norton Poche AO, one of Melanoma Institute Australia’s great friends and committed supporters, passed away on 14 June 2024, following a long illness. One of Kay’s closest friends and inaugural MIA Chairman, Reg Richardson AO, has advised us that Kay passed away peacefully with family by her side.

Kay and her husband Greg Poche AO, provided the initial extraordinary philanthropic support to commission Melanoma Institute Australia from the original Sydney Melanoma Unit. Their initial $40 million donation to construct our world-leading research and treatment centre in Sydney was named The Poche Centre in their honour. At that time this was the largest ever donation by an Australian to a single cause. Since the opening of The Poche Centre in 2010, ongoing annual philanthropic support from Kay and Greg has continued to underpin key MIA research projects, clinical trials, and education programs. Many thousands of patients, from across the country, have passed through the doors of The Poche Centre and benefited from the life-saving research and clinical advances fuelled by Kay and Greg’s generosity.

Kay and Greg have also been long-term supporters of our national Melanoma March campaign, both regularly attending our flagship Manly event. Kay’s annual address at Melanoma March Manly always put a smile on participant’s faces, with patients and their families often taking the opportunity to personally thank Kay and Greg for their life-changing generosity.

In 2019, Kay received an Officer for the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to the community as a benefactor and supporter of Indigenous health and medical research initiatives.

‘We are forever indebted to the foresight, generosity, and kindness of both Kay and Greg Poche,’ said MIA Deputy Medical Director Associate Professor Jonathan Stretch AM, a long-time friend of the couple. ‘Kay and Greg’s belief in our mission was fundamental to the development of MIA and so many of our clinical breakthroughs in recent years simply would not have been possible without their very generous philanthropic support. Kay’s desire to help others in need, her zest for life and her legendary sense of humour will never be forgotten.’

The thoughts of all of us at Melanoma Institute Australia are with Greg as well as Kay’s extended family.

Yours sincerely
Prof Georgina Long AO & Prof Richard Scolyer AO
Joint 2024 Australians of the Year