On Sunday April 9, 2017, Leon Betts shared a message on Facebook.
Posting from his daughter’s Dear Melanoma account, he wrote the following:
“All good things must come to an end. At around 11:40 last night [Saturday] Emma peacefully passed away with Serge, Tamra and I at her side.
“I think my Mum summed things up rather succinctly… Emma achieved so much in 25 years, just imagine what she would have achieved if she lived to a ripe old age!”
Leon had lost his daughter, Emma, to melanoma.
She was just 21 and volunteering in East Timor when a stranger spotted a mole on her shoulder. Emma returned home to Brisbane, had the mole removed, and was told to return to Australia every three months for a check up. And she did.
Then she discovered a lump under her arm.
Over the course of just a few short weeks, Emma was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. The cancer had spread to her bloodstream, and at 22, the young woman who had been planning on becoming an occupational therapist now had to come to terms with a terminal illness.
She was in the early stages of a relationship with her boyfriend Serge, and had always wanted to be a mum. But she quickly learnt there was a lot she would never be able to do.
Over the next three years, Emma got married, travelled the world, adopted a dog, Ralph, and bought a home with Serge.
Then on a Saturday night in April, Serge laid down next to his wife in her hospital bed as her breathing stopped.
The following day, Leon shared the news on Facebook, and it happened to reach another young woman, Stephanie Segrave.