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Colin Rathbone

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Col’s Ride for Melanoma


Please follow Cols ride on FACEBOOK:

Hi. I am going to ride The National Trail, 5330km  on horseback from Cooktown to Healesville. I am doing this ride to raise funds for Melanoma Research as I recently lost my wife to melanoma in 2020.

Her story is a little different in that the cancer first appeared underneath the toenail on her foot and took ages for the doctors to diagnose, they were looking for anything except Melanoma. Her toenail was removed twice while they tried to find the source of the infection and finally, our local GP in desperation did a biopsy and tested for melanoma. The conclusion was that it was caused by some sort of trauma, rather than from the sun, and Roni(short for Veronica) could remember dropping a vacuum cleaner on her toe some time previously.

Once diagnosed, the team at the Melanoma Institute swung into gear and began treatment. This consisted of amputating the big toe, removal of several lymph glands in the groin and the usual drug follow up routine. After 2 years of checkups, the specialist announced that Roni was clear of all symptoms and that we did not need to have any further checkups. That was in 2009!

Maybe we were naive but we believed the doctor, people of our age did things like that, we didn't have Doctor Google to consult back then.

The Melanoma came back in the same spot after 10 years. Even though the toe had been amputated, it showed up on the foot where the toe used to be. Unfortunately it had spread through her entire body and was a stage 4 melanoma before it showed any external symptoms, maybe if we had kept having those checkups, we might have found it earlier?

Despite several rounds of immunotherapy, nothing worked and Roni passed away on 8th February, 2020.

I first heard about the Bicentennial National Trail in 1988 when it was opened as a Bicentennial project and told myself that I would do it one day. It is a trail for horse riders, bush walkers and mountain bike riders that runs from Cooktown in far north Queensland to Healesville, near Melbourne, a distance of 5330 kilometres!!!! The trail basically follows the Great Divide and you can download the route from the National trail website if you wish to follow me. Now I have run out of excuses why I can't do it, and at 76, I'd better do it now before I get old ( or older).

If I can find enough people to donate $10 per kilometre, that would mean $53300.00. That is my target.

Please support me so that I can support the MIA and between us we can help find a cure for Melanoma.

I will be travelling with 3 horses and hope to meet up with supporters along the way. 

Any donation will help. Thank you.


UPDATE 24 January 2023:

Col has started on the trek, commencing from Gunning and heading to Healesville the start of the Bicentennial Trail. From there Col will then return to Gunning (by road) and rejoin the trail heading north. Slightly unconventional but required due to logistic challenges in getting the horses to Healesville in January. 

A massive thank you to everyone in the Gunning, Gundaroo, Canberra and surrounds that  have assisted Col, provided a friendly chat and support - as seen by the donations and comments. 

While the trail is a challenge in itself, the last few days through Canberra have presented even more challenges across roundabouts and the horses adjusting to traffic signals! 

A very steep learning curve whilst starting on the trek, matched by Col's determination and resolve.

Col is now on the outskirts of Canberra continuing his southward journey. 

On behalf of Col (Dad), thank you all for your welcomed and appreciated donations. 


Update: October 2023

Colin is now at Healesville, continuing the ride from there and heading north. He set off again on Sturday 7th of Octobier, the weather is fantastic and the scenery even better, as we get mor information from Colin, we will keep you updated. Please follow on facebook.



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Melanoma Institute Australia

Melanoma Institute Australia is dedicated to the goal of zero deaths from melanoma, a goal we believe we can reach this decade through innovative, world-class research, treatment, and education programs. For more info, visit our website. Melanoma Institute Australia (incorporating melanomaWA, Skin Cancer Tasmania and Amie St Clair).

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