“I had the mole removed and tested. Unfortunately, the outcome was not what we had wanted – it was an aggressive cancer and it was well advanced. I was rushed to Sydney, to Melanoma Institute Australia where - fortunately - further tests indicated that there was no evidence of melanoma anywhere else.”
Matt and his family – full of “what ifs” – made a resolution to enjoy life, to do more things they loved and less work. Aside from spending more time with his teenage children and wife, this also included finishing a Group B Replica Rally Car, a Mazda RX-7, that had been a project for Matt and his son, Josh, for some time.
During the build of the iconic car, Matt was once again hit with bad news. In June, 2015, he collapsed and was taken to hospital, only to learn that the melanoma was back and had spread to his brain. The prognosis was poor – Matt was only given months to live.
“Melanoma Institute Australia has supported us with the best and latest advancements in melanoma treatments. It is an incredible testament to the research that they do that I’m still here. I set myself a goal of attending my daughter’s graduation, which I did – and even danced with her! I also drove the Mazda RX-7 in the Alpine Rally in Victoria in November, 2015, with Josh next to me in the car.”
Matt’s message to everyone is clear: “If we can help someone else avoid this, that would be great.”
Matt came to the Hastings Sporting Car Club meeting in February, asking the members in attendance to buy some raffle tickets, and attend Melanoma March in Bonny Hills. The club members felt that they could do more, and offered to help fundraise up to and including at the rallysprint, which was to be held the same weekend as Melanoma March.
Club President, Les Smith, summed it up for the club members: “It was a pretty simple decision really! When you see how a member of your own club – who is like family – is affected by melanoma, you just want to do whatever you can to help. We figured we would have a captive audience at our event, so we decided to turn it into a bit of fun and we’ll be encouraging competitors and attendees to contribute to the cause.”
Whilst also fundraising leading up to the event, the culmination of the efforts will be at the Rallysprint, where Hastings Sporting Car Club members will be encouraging rally competitors and crews to dig deep to support melanoma research.
“We thought we’d make it a bit fun, we’ll have the ‘Melanoma Mafia’ at the event, sharing sunscreen and “fining” competitors for their indiscretions throughout the day,” Harvey Smith, head ‘Mafia’ agent indicated.
If competitors wish to avoid the fines, what is Harvey’s best advice?
“Keep it tidy, make sure you’re wearing a hat and stay away from the Mafia!”
Matt Love, of course, wants to be competing, but instead he is volunteering his efforts in helping to organize the rallysprint, driving his RX-7 as the Zero car. He’ll also be helping out with the fundraising efforts, encouraging everyone to be involved.
“I really want to encourage people to attend Melanoma March in Bonny Hills, but if they can’t it would be great if they could support melanoma research by donating – even just a bit, every little bit counts. This organisation has given me, and a lot of other families in Australia, what we all want – more time with our families and friends. They can only do this through their research into the newest treatments, and one day we hope they will find a cure.”
If you are unable to attend the rallysprint, and wish to donate via the Hastings Sporting Car Club’s fundraiser, please go to: http://bit.ly/MattLovesRally
If you would like more information, please contact Heather Smith at 0419 466 005 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Australian Rally Championship®