Martin is Auckland-born and bred, and Laura, who was born in Christchurch, moved to Auckland when she was 18 years old. We caught up with Laura while she is juggling her busy career in lockdown, with two young children, four year-old Harley, and Teddy, who is just seven months old. When we spoke with her, Martin was away in Dubai, training before the start of the cricket World Cup, and Laura was planning some late nights staying up to watch!
“I’ve never missed watching a tournament, I really enjoy seeing him play and absolutely love cricket,” says Laura. “While his stints away from home are longer at the moment due to the pandemic, I’m so proud of his achievements. He’s doing what he loves and is very proud and grateful to be representing his country.”
Laura met Martin, who is also affectionately known as Guppy, when she interviewed him for the Cricket Show back in 2009, and the pair married in 2014. Tragically, both have had a close personal experience of melanoma, with Guppy’s beloved dad Peter passing away from the disease in 2017, and Laura losing her cousin Amelia to a rare form of melanoma.
“My family is incredibly important to me. Amelia and I grew up together and were very close. She died when she was just 12 years old. I was 11 when we lost her; my family is so close and tight knit – losing her was just devastating.
“I have my own young children now and knowing the experience Amelia had at such a young age, Guppy and I are both now even more careful about ensuring our children wear hats and sunscreen and cover up when outside. I now know that not only does our family history of melanoma increase our risk, but having sunburn in childhood can lead to melanoma later in life too,” she says.
Guppy’s dad died of melanoma in his early 60s, not long after he was diagnosed. “Dad was a cricket club legend and a truck driver,” says Guppy. “He spent a lot of time outside, and unfortunately, he paid the ultimate price when he got melanoma. I miss him so much, and that experience, together with being out in the sun all day for my job, has made me acutely aware of being careful with my own skin.
“Dad had the kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ approach to life, and unfortunately by the time he went to the doctor, it was too late,” says Guppy. “I was pregnant at the time with Harley,” adds Laura. “He never got to meet Harley and Teddy and be their granddad. He would have been a wonderful granddad; we constantly talk about how much he would have loved the kids.
“He was such a good person. He would have given you the shirt off his back if he could. It’s important that people know this could happen to them, and to someone they love.
“Both Guppy and I are passionate about educating other people to be safe outside, so they don’t have to go through what we’ve been through. New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, and we need to do better, and be better, for ourselves and our kids.
“Educating as many people as possible about how to prevent melanoma and the importance of early detection is just so important. We are delighted to be on board with the Melanoma New Zealand team and are really keen to spread the word and hopefully help turn around our terrible statistics.”