Daughters lead March for Melanoma in honour of Denmark father Mark O’Donnell who lost his battle with cancer

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Marchers for Melanoma Heather, Phoebe and Emma O'Donnell.
Camera IconMarchers for Melanoma Heather, Phoebe and Emma O'Donnell. Credit: Georgia Campion

The O’Donnell family have joined forces with the Denmark community to help raise vital funds for melanoma research and prevention.

Locals turned out on Saturday for Denmark’s March for Melanoma in memory of Mark O’Donnell who passed away from Metastatic Melanoma in August 2020.

Organised by Heather O’Donnell and their two daughters Phoebe and Emma, the family marched to raise awareness for the cause which is close to their hearts.

Mr O’Donnell was diagnosed with the illness in August 2019 and battled it for 12 months, trying every treatment possible to see his two daughters grow up, before passing in 2020.

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More than 30 people showed up at the Kwoorabup Community Park on Saturday morning.

Milling around under the arch, Ms O’Donnell gave a speech on the importance of the march to the family and the awareness they were raising for melanoma.

Families, children and dogs all marched along the Mokare Heritage Trail before looping back to the Kwoorabup Park in a 5km course that finished with a sausage sizzle.

The O’Donnell family has raised around $11,500 this year alone and will continue to march to raise money for prevention and treatment.

Ms O’Donnell wants the march to continue in future years for her two daughters.

“It’s incredibly important for the girls to know that he’s remembered by the community, and it’s a way for them to keep his memory alive,” she said.

Mark O’Donnel, Jenny Barrow, Kim Barrow
Camera IconMark O’Donnel, Jenny Barrow, Kim Barrow Credit: Supplied

About 16,800 Australian’s will be diagnosed with melanoma each year, with UV radiation overexposure causing 95 per cent of melanomas.

It’s the third most common cancer in Australia and it’s estimated that 1300 people will die as a result of the cancer each year.

March for Melanoma is an initiative by the Melanoma Institute Australia and with vital fundraisers and community support the institute has seen an increased survival rate in the last decade.

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