Benaud’s plight a warning to us all

THE whole of Australia will be wishing legendary cricket doyen Richie Benaud the best as he battles skin cancer.

The 84-year-old former Australian cricket star and the country’s favourite commentator has been undergoing treatment, including laser and chemotherapy procedures, as part of what is hoped will be a full recovery.

The Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria has been saying it for years with some success but it will mean a great deal more to a lot more people to have someone of Benaud’s stature in the community come out and warn people that the sun is a killer.

Yesterday, after news of Benaud’s condition broke, he wasted no time in laying it on the line urging everyone to protect their skin.

Benaud blames years of playing cricket without a hat for the skin cancers he is suffering now.

The message is the same for every sportsman or woman who plays outdoors, every tradie who works long hours in the sun and for anyone else who spends extended periods of time outdoors in the summer — cover up or face the consequences.

While some great work has been done around driving the sun-smart message home there are still many Australians who think that getting a tan is cool, or even healthy.

There is nothing cool about cancer and there is nothing in the least bit healthy about laying out in the burning sun letting your skin fry. It is one of the stupidest and most dangerous things you can do whether you are young or old.

Benaud demonstrated some Aussie fighting spirit yesterday when he showed up for Channel Nine’s Summer of Cricket launch at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He hadn’t been seen in public for more than a year before yesterday’s event. As he pointed out, he has the best of care and medical professionals can and do work wonders these days.

Benaud is confident that he will recover and even left open the door for more cricket commentary.

Fighting spirit is one thing but prevention is another and Richie Benaud would be the first to agree that when it comes to Australia’s biggest killer — skin cancer — the latter of the two is by far the most important.

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