Ray Price Invitational – RACV Royal Pines Golf Course – League legend Ray Price Tees-Off for Melanoma
WORDS: Madison Cooper PHOTOGRAPHY Brian Usher - www.usherusher.com
Dual International and Parramatta Eels legend Ray Price OAM teed-off for a life-saving cause to help battle the disease that almost killed him.
The inaugural Ray Price Invitational Golf Day was played yesterday at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, the man they called ‘Mr Perpetual Motion’ is raising funds and awareness for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA).
The four-time premiership winner was diagnosed in 2020 alongside wife Sandy. The dynamic duo beat the disease with the kind of toughness epitomised by Price’s fearless reputation on the footy field.
Sandy was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma and immediately began lifesaving treatment. By her side every day, Price was then diagnosed with Stage III melanoma 18 months later.
The pair then began combining hospital visits as they each waged their own battle.
“The bastard was not going to get us, we were determined to fight it, but there were a few worrying moments,” said Price.
“In some ways it helped that we were going through it together, going to treatment together, as we knew what the other one was going through.
“Sandy would say ‘don’t ever leave me’ and that kept me going through some bloody tough times.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets that lucky.
“With this event we are helping to create awareness and raise some funds that can hopefully save lives.
“It’s not just about our story, it’s about reaching out to everyone else who might be suffering or to support family members who are doing it tough while fighting this bloody thing.
“You are not alone on this journey, there is support available. We need to have a big conversation in this country about prevention by changing attitudes around sun-safe behaviour.”
Price said he was exposed when he would play footy in the sun on weekends and then work in the sun every day as a chippie on building sites, in an era when sunscreen was not ‘floating around in the toolbox’.
He said his love of golf and using his profile to support community causes was the perfect combination.
The 4-ball Ambrose event is attracting players Australia-wide from sporting backgrounds, corporate heavy-hitters and everyday hackers who want to test their skills while supporting a great cause.
“The event is called the Ray Price Invitational and I’m inviting players, sponsors – and Greg Norman.
So, if you’re reading this Greg, call me back,” joked Price of his fellow Australian Sporting Hall of Famer.
“I have been asked to support some great community causes over the years and this one was close to home. I was playing golf with a few mates when one of them mentioned the idea of doing a charity golf day. I said that Sandy and I were ambassadors for Melanoma Institute Australia, and here we are,” he said.
Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medallist Sam Short will also support the event. The 19-year-old is also a melanoma survivor who was diagnosed earlier this year while representing Australia at the World Championships in Budapest.
Short had surgery in Hungary to remove the melanoma as soon as competition finished.
“I literally went from the pool to the operating table and had the melanoma removed along with a wider margin to ensure no cancer cells were missed. I needed 20 stitches and was left with a 6cm scar across my lower back,” he said.
Only five weeks later, Short made a gallant splash at the Commonwealth Games where he took gold and silver.
Melanoma Institute Australia CEO Matthew Browne said Australia has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world, but through research, treatment and prevention, lives can be saved.
“Melanoma Institute Australia is at the forefront of global advances in melanoma research and treatment, but a lot more must be done if we are to achieve our mission of zero deaths from melanoma this decade,” said Browne.
“The valuable support gained through events like this will assist our researchers and clinical teams to fast-track research and provide patients with ground-breaking melanoma treatment and support.
“We are incredibly grateful to Ray and Sandy, as well as Sam, for their generous support as our ambassadors which greatly assists us in raising awareness and funds to save lives from this disease.”