The Mater was in his corner!

For siblings Darren and Kelly Turner, the care their father received at Calvary Mater Newcastle following a diagnosis of melanoma, had a lasting impact on them both.

It was with this care and attention in mind, following the sad death of their father John in October 2021, the siblings decided to each make a donation from their inheritance towards the hospital’s Melanoma Unit.
John was a butcher by trade for 65 years and such was his dedication he continued to work until 80 years of age. When John wasn’t working he spent his spare time outdoors – fishing, enjoying time at the family holiday home up the Bay, always out in the sun.

With not much knowledge of sunscreen at this time, John consequently had many skin cancers removed in the 90’s and in 2014 he was sadly diagnosed with a melanoma on his scalp. The melanoma spread to John’s liver which meant in this instance doctors were unable to operate. However, an immunotherapy clinical trial was available at the Mater for John to participate in.

Darren said,

“Dad responded so well to the clinical trial. His spirits were lifted knowing that the trial was a pathway for him and that the Mater was in his corner!”

Kelly added,

“Dad had a very positive mindset after the trial – it gave him a good quality of life for a further six years. He was a strong man, with nine lives, and he still lived quite independently right up until he died last year at 86 years of age. He died of a fall not the melanoma.”

The generous donation will help provide better access and ongoing care for the hospital’s melanoma unit patients. Cheryl Cooley, Nurse Manager Surgery, explains, “The money will be put towards converting an office to a clinic room, updating our equipment used to identify melanoma, as well as melanoma research.

“Donations such as this, go such a long way, we are ever so appreciative.”


L-R: Cheryl Cooley, Kelly and Darren Turner