50-year-old Alexandra resident and local plumber Chris Flannery was diagnosed just before Christmas in 2019 with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma.
“I have lived my life outdoors, growing up in a farming community, and playing representative rugby and cricket in my younger days,” says Chris. “I’ll never forget having to tell my kids that I had stage 4 cancer, then later that evening we were busy organising their school and sport pickups. Life as we knew it had changed, but we had to continue.
“Thanks to a combination of immunotherapy drug Keytruda and radiotherapy and the diligence of my oncologist Chris Jackson, I’ve recently been able to have the tumours in my lymph nodes removed. My treatment has been a game changer for me. Initially, I was told my tumours were inoperable.”
After not being able to work for the best part of 18 months during his treatment, Chris was keen to do something to connect with his local community, and to raise awareness about the risks of melanoma, while also raising some money to support the work of Melanoma New Zealand.
He approached Melanoma New Zealand about the possibility of him organising a golf tournament in Alexandra in the South Island, where he lives with his wife Nicola, and their three teenage children.
Chris hopes that the one-day golf tournament, which is being held on 15 October, will be the first of many annual tournaments. “It would be great if we could eventually rotate the tournament in different towns in the South Island. This tournaments capacity is 150 people and it was filled within a week. The day will include free skin cancer spot checks, 3 person Ambrose, refreshments, raffles and an auction, with all proceeds going to Melanoma New Zealand.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you’re interested in sponsoring or supporting the event.
“I’m used to running a business as a plumber and being busy and active with sport. I have really missed the social connection that work gave me; the last 18 months have been challenging not working and being relatively immobile at times due to my treatment.
“We all need to work together as a community to raise awareness of this disease and the dangers associated with the sun. I am enjoying organising the tournament as I feel I can do something positive that will hopefully make a difference and play some great golf at the same time.”