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“Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer at least once in our lives,” says Emma of Year 11. The horrifying statistic prompted her to campaign for sun safety, and participate in the Sydney Running Festival Blackmores Half Marathon on Sunday 18 September, 2016.
It’s a statistic that is close to home. Only five years ago, Emma's family friend passed away from a melanoma that was identified too late.“It was a real tragedy. Simon Kerr was a top barrister in New South Wales who did phenomenal things," she says.
A year after his passing, Simon’s sister Belinda set up the Simon Kerr SC Fellowship in his honour through Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. To date, three Fellowships have been funded with success in breakthrough melanoma treatments.
“There is not enough knowledge about the repercussions of sun damage,” Emma says. “I think it is absolutely essential that girls throughout the School be educated on the consequences of sun bathing and too much sun exposure.”
Emma organised for Belinda Kerr to speak at Assembly about the impact of sun exposure, and raised funds at the School for the Fellowship ("Wenona girls love their bake sales and barbecues").
The campaign culminated in the half marathon, which the wider Wenona community financially supported. “The run was really really tough,” Emma says. "I probably didn’t train as much as I needed to.”
But she did wear sunscreen, “I’m an avid sunscreen wearer now”, and made the finish line having raised more than $5,000 for the Fellowship. “It’s amazing to know that Wenona has contributed to a foundation which is close to the hearts of many in our school, and is relevant in all of our lives.”