Emma Betts is 22 years old.
She just celebrated her wedding in March. She loves to travel and has worked as a volunteer in East Timor for years. She adores children, and also happens to be Mamamia columnist Bec Sparrow’s beloved baby sitter.
And she’s one hell of an inspirational young woman.
Emma has raised almost $24,000 for melanoma research — and by launching a new blog called ‘Dear Melanoma’ next month, she’s determined to continue raising funds to combat the deadly skin cancer.
“Research is so important for melanoma,” Emma tells Mamamia. “Although there is no cure for melanoma for many patients, new trials allow them to have as much time possible with families.”
Emma is speaking from experience. You see, she found her first melanoma, on her back, in October, 2012.
She had it removed and had regularly attended check-ups to monitor her skin. But in August last year, Emma found a lump under her left arm.
“We came home to have it biopsied and it turned out be melanoma in my lymph nodes,” Emma says. Within a month, she’d been diagnosed with stage four melanoma — a terminal form of the skin cancer.
“I was told the melanoma had spread to my liver, my lungs, my pancreas,” Emma says. “Pretty much everywhere.”
She started on a new drug that doctors hoped would afford her more time — but in January this year, doctors told her the prognosis was not good.
“At the rate the cancer was spreading, (they said) I’d only have three months left at most,” she says.