A HERVEY Bay man who's been told he has just six months to live is warning others to have their skin checked regularly.
Father of five Darren Haley, 46, was given the news two weeks ago that his stage four bone cancer, which began as a melanoma, was incurable.
But he said he was determined to make it until Christmas. "The doctors say that I have six months but I want to make it past that," Mr Haley said.
"The doctor said 'you make it until Christmas and bring any humble pie to me so I can eat it'.
"So that's what I'm going to do."
He said it took eight months to finally do a bone density scan.
"They found it was cancer just three days after that but by that stage it was too late," Mr Haley said.
"It had grown three times the size.
"All I've got left to do now is go back for another set of scans to see if radiation treatment has slowed the cancer down. If that hasn't worked, well, I have to have my affairs in order."
Mr Haley also hoped his story would encourage others to have skin checks.
"When I was a child, going back 30 years ago, we weren't told to slip, slop, slap.
"I used to go down to the beach all the time and get burnt red raw like a lobster.
"No one used to take any notice of it as you would just be another bronzed Aussie kid."
"People need to get regular melanoma checks and slip, slop, slap.
"Stuff the bronze Aussie routine, stay lilly white and stay healthy."
The news has taken its toll on the family, which includes four grandchildren and his partner of 10 years Judy.
"We're best buddies, we've always done everything together," she said.
"We're never really apart except for when I'm at work.
"It's our eighth wedding anniversary on Tuesday."
"We'll probably look at going to the Boat Club for tea."
"Whenever we've been able to get out that's is our favourite place to go."
While the outlook might be bleak, spirits remain high as the community pitches in to help.
"We need to thank a lot of people," Darren said.
"The generosity of people up here is just absolutely unbelievable."
"We've been here two-and-a-half years and in such a time I've never ever made this many good friends."
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