Dr Mark Copland (right) with HOG member Malcolm Keys

Queenslanders under the age of 35 are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma cancers than any other Australians, a 2016 report from Cancer Council Queensland has revealed. Melanoma Cancer is a major concern for rural Queenslanders, with south-west regional Queensland having the highest incidence of the deadly cancer in the world. Well known Toowoomba man Mark Copland credits his wife Amber with saving his life.

Three years ago he was diagnosed with a melanoma after his wife noticed a mole on Mr Copland's back had changed in appearance.

A cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience for everyone and it was no difference for Mark.

"Realising the mortality of the situation, you feel like you're bullet-proof and they're just freckles" he said.

"As soon as we found out is was not benign, I had it surgically removed."

"Your back is one of those places you don't look at. I would have never seen it before it was too late."

"She saved my life."

Since Mr Copland's brush with cancer, he gets his skin checked twice a year. "It's scary having three young sons and knowing the statistics" he said.

"If you are directly related to somebody who has been diagnosed with a melanoma you are fifty percent more likely of developing the disease. And that's without going in the sun! It is the number one form of cancer that young people are diagnosed with".

Minimise Risk of Melanoma

* Cover up when outdoors wear protective clothing, hat, UV protective sunglasses and UPF 50+ sunscreen.

* Know your skin - check your skin every month, it takes just 10 minutes

* Know your skin doctor - have a full body skin examination under your doctor's dermatoscope at least once a year. 

Since the event’s inception in 2002, the annual ride has raised in excess of $216,000 to support Queenslanders affected by cancer.

The Rotary Club of Toowoomba City and Darling Downs Harley Owners Group  encourage all local Harley-Davidson enthusiasts to register and take part in the yearly Cruise for Cancer.

This is a unique opportunity for the community to have some fun with friends while making a difference in the fight against cancer.

“Thanks to the Toowoomba community’s continued generosity and support of the Cruise for Cancer, we have been able to improve the support available for local cancer patients.

Funds raised from this event will contribute to Cancer Research and to the Toowoomba Accommodation and Support Lodge, which has provided a home-away-from home, at no cost, for South-West Queensland cancer patients having to relocate to the city for treatment.

The Cruise for Cancer has become an anticipated event on the Toowoomba charity calendar and I would encourage everyone to do what they can to help make the annual event a roaring success.

You can support the event by registering to take part in the ride as a passenger or supporter or by sponsoring those who are riding.

Registration costs $125 to ride pillion on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorbike for up to three hours, a Cruise for Cancer T-shirt and a delicious morning tea and lunch.

Family and friends can register to come along in the supporter’s bus on the day.

The  ride passes through the various regions of the Darling Downs, with a morning tea stop, and finish at Queens Park in Toowoomba for lunch.

Over the past fifteen years, the Cruise has provided a day of fun, laughter and good company with over 100 roaring Harleys.