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Taking serve at Melanoma

MEMBERS of the community banded together at Rosny Park Tennis Club to participate in the inaugural 24-Hour Tennis-A-Thon raising funds and awareness for melanoma in Tasmania.

The event was held on the last weekend of March, with both young and old showing up over the 24 hour period to have a hit and support Melanoma Tasmania.

The young hotshots and juniors started the 24 hours on Saturday morning, with older groups coming along at night to brave the chilly conditions.

The over 70s concluded the event on Sunday morning.

Melanoma Tasmania founder and chief executive officer Di Mason said tennis being an outdoor sport went hand-in-hand with Melanoma Tasmania.

“It’s a lovely fit with the goals we’re trying to achieve as far as raising awareness of what causes UV radiation and to encourage people to protect themselves,” she said.

“A lot of people think that because we’re fairly southern and have a cooler climate relative to the rest of Australia that we don’t have any issues associated with skin cancer.

“The statistics actually show it’s a really common cancer in Tasmania, and that we are the fourth highest state or territory in Australia as far as incidents of melanoma go.”

Mrs Mason said it was important to inform people of the risks associated with melanoma and how to try and prevent it.

“Melanoma Tasmania offered safe skin scans via a UV scanner, which shows any damage that’s already occurred that the naked eye wouldn’t necessarily see,” she said.

“We also gave out UV bracelets that change colour in response to invisible UV rays to make people think about applying sunscreen.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for us to go out on court and talk to the young hotshots as well as the juniors about how important it is to stay sun safe if they’re going to continue to pursue tennis as a sport.”

Tennis coach Alyssa Hibberd participated in the event and helped assist the younger kids in staying safe.

“We’re out there to teach them lots of different things, and one of those is that they need to look after themselves,” she said.

“Matches can range from an hour to three hours, and having that awareness that you need to be able to protect your skin with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen is really important, especially from a young age.

“Anytime we can get the tennis community together for a bigger cause, it’s good for all angles and people involved.”

Mrs Mason said she was delighted with the response from participants, with the event raising about $2000.

“The vibe was really upbeat, and we had a lot of support from not only families who brought their children along, but the teenagers who came at night and dressed up in fancy dress – they just made a fun time of it,” she said.

“It’s a fantastic way to showcase tennis as a sport for all ages, and for us as an organisation it’s also a great way to tie in all the health aspects of looking after yourself when you’re outdoors and being active.”

For more information, visit www.melanomatas.org.au.

Caption: Ego Pharmaceuticals Lynne Newman, left, and Melanoma Tasmania founder and chief executive officer Di Mason educated people on how to stay sun smart at the 24-Hour Tennis-A-Thon. Photo credit: Melanoma Tasmania.