Julie McDonald with Hayley Lewis and Janelle Elford during the 1990 Commonwealth Games held in Auckland, Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)
Julie McDonald with Hayley Lewis and Janelle Elford during the 1990 Commonwealth Games held in Auckland, Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

Health scare for former Olympic swimmer

FORMER Olympic swimmer, Julie McDonald OAM is encouraging others to get checked for skin cancer after her own personal health scare.

The former Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific games medallist will be in Kingaroy next week to share her skin cancer journey which started back in 1997.

"I was watching TV and a Cancer Council promo came on," she said.

"They said if you have a mole like this you should get checked.

"My partner at the time said, 'you have a mole like that'."

After getting checked, it was confirmed that McDonald had a melanoma on her back.

"The doctor asked me if I was sitting down, and then he said one of them came back as melanoma," she said.

Former Olympian Julie McDonald will be in Kingaroy. Picture: Chris McCormack.
Former Olympian Julie McDonald will be in Kingaroy. Picture: Chris McCormack.

Thankfully the former Olympic swimmer caught it early enough.

Sadly however, others aren't so lucky.

McDonald is on her way to Kingaroy to share her personal health scare and to encourage others to have regular check ups.

During the late 70s and early 80s, McDonald spent her days in the pool and surf lifesaving and other activities that exposed her to the cruel Australian sun.

"We used sunscreen, but it was applied in the morning and then if you were lucky you would put it on again after lunch," she said.

"Back then there wasn't a lot of knowledge about getting sunburnt."

But it was something she did in the lead up to her marriage that she believes played a significant role in her acquiring skin cancer.

"When I got married in my early 20s, I went to the solarium half a dozen times," she said.

"It was absolutely a factor in me getting the melanoma."

Julie McDonald OAM will be presenting at the free community dinner on behalf of the Melanoma Awareness.

The dinner will be held at Mulanah Gardens on Thursday November 21 from 6.30pm.

For more information and for tickets contact Brett Otto on 0467 625 269.

South Burnett

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