Brisbane parents Tamra and Leon Betts who lost their 25-year-old daughter Emma to melanoma are urging Australians to join Brisbane Melanoma March to raise vital research funds and stop the glamourisation of tanning.

Youngest of three daughters, Emma was only 22 when she was first diagnosed with melanoma. Almost a year after having the primary melanoma removed, Emma discovered a lump and a biopsy confirmed the melanoma had returned. Emma began a blog called Dear Melanoma, where she shared her melanoma journey which her parents have continued since she passed away in 2017.

‘It’s important to us to continue Emma’s advocacy role of spreading sun-safety messaging, while raising funds for melanoma research,’ said Leon.

Emma’s mum Tamra and friend Kerry Weir, who also lost her young adult daughter Nicole to melanoma, are the driving force behind the Melanoma March event held in Brisbane each year. It is part of a national campaign run by Melanoma Institute Australia.

This year’s Melanoma March Brisbane will be a twilight event on Saturday 23 March at Riverstage in the City Botanic Gardens.

‘Initiatives like Melanoma March are so important because they’re not only a chance to join together with the Brisbane melanoma community who understand what it’s like to experience a melanoma diagnosis, but also allow us to raise funds and educate Australians about the dangers of tanning culture,’ added Tamra.

This year, Queensland Country Bank is throwing its support behind Melanoma March Brisbane. Leon and Tamra have been invited to attend its Brisbane office and share their family story to raise awareness. They will also be accepting a cheque of $5,743, raised by employees via their Workplace Giving Program. 

With Queensland having the highest rates of melanoma in the country, Queensland Country Bank is passionate about advocating for sun-safety and melanoma awareness amongst its staff across its 28-branch network and its  lending office in Maroochydore. Since 2019, they have developed several staff initiatives within its Wellbeing Program to specifically promote awareness about prevention and early detection of melanoma, including re-imbursing staff for skin checks, supporting MIA’s Melanoma March campaign, and creating sun-safety collateral for staff.

‘Several of our staff have been personally impacted by melanoma or have had a loved one diagnosed with melanoma, so we’re proud to be supporting Melanoma Institute Australia in helping them reach their goal of zero deaths from melanoma,’ explained Katherine Brennan, People and Culture Executive Manager at Queensland Country Bank.

‘The team is excited to welcome Tamra and Leon to our Brisbane office on Tuesday, where they will be sharing their family’s experience of melanoma, highlighting the impact of staff support and accepting our cheque.’

Organised by volunteer committees impacted by melanoma, the Melanoma March events raise vital funds for melanoma research, which will also impact other cancers, and provide an opportunity for patients and families to come together to support each other and remember those lost to the disease.

This year’s campaign also aims to shine a spotlight on the dangers of tanning and the need for greater investment in national prevention strategies.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world. One person is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes and one person dies from the disease every 6 hours. It is the most common cancer affecting 20–39-year-old Australians.

‘Changing attitudes towards tanning and improving the community’s understanding about prevention, early detection, and year-round sun safety is crucial to stopping more lives being cut short by melanoma,’ said MIA CEO Matthew Browne.

‘The local Brisbane march has a great community feel to it,’ Leon Betts added. ‘Our march participants have raised over $20k, all of which goes towards life-saving research. It is fantastic to see the community getting behind the cause.’

To register or donate to Melanoma March, go to