Hayley Pearce with her 56-year-old mother Maree on her wedding day in 2014, shortly before Maree passed away from melanoma.
FOR Hayley Pearce, taking part in the annual Melanoma March is a way of feeling connected to her 56-year-old mother Maree who died in 2014, more than 18 months after being diagnosed with the disease.
The Earlwood resident said doctors initially told her mother that she had eight weeks to live.
"That was two weeks before my wedding," she said.
"It was a really hard time.
"We thought about calling off the wedding but mum said 'no way'.
"She ended up dancing all night and in the photos from that night she is so happy.
"It really reflects the kind of person she was."
Having already completed two sections of the Longest Melanoma March, which began in Brisbane on March 5 and is due to wind up in Sydney at Barangaroo on Sunday, April 2, Ms Pearce is set to rejoin the walking team led by Jay Allen.
A staunch advocate for melanoma research, and completing a half marathon in addition to her work with Melanoma March, Ms Pearce says if caught early it is a very treatable condition.
"When I contribute to melanoma research I feel like I am doing something for my mum," she said.
"I truly believe that if my mum had access to the breakthrough research made in recent years, it would have made a big difference to her treatment.
"We all have an important role to play when it comes to helping end melanoma."