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Aussie schoolboy dies from rare melanoma not caused by the sun

A Sunshine Coast schoolboy is being remembered for his bravery after losing his fight with a very rare melanoma.

Hayden Price, 10, passed away on October 4, more than two years after he was diagnosed with advanced cancer.

“Our brave little warrior left us Tuesday night,” his mum Liza Price wrote on Facebook.

“He will be sorely missed beyond words.

“How lucky we all were to have him.”

Hayden Price in a school photo (left) and with a bandage around his head after surgery for melanoma (right).
Hayden Price fought a two-year battle with a rare melanoma before he lost his life on October 4. Source: Facebook/The Courier

‘Never crossed our minds that it was cancer’

The alarm was first raised back in 2020 when Hayden complained of what his Queensland family thought was a skin tag on the back of his head.

Instead tests revealed that it was a rare subtype of melanoma, not caused by sun exposure.

“We just didn’t think that children as young as Hayden could get melanoma,” Ms Price previously told The Courier Mail.

“It never crossed our minds that a cancer diagnosis was even possible.”

Devastatingly, she said the cancer had spread to Hayden’s lymph nodes.

In July, just one day after his eighth birthday, Hayden underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove the cancer, and began immunotherapy.

Melanoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia, however it is extremely rare in children.

According to Cancer Council Queensland, 96 children aged 14 and under were diagnosed with melanoma in Australia over the 10 years to 2013.

While more research is needed, the Cancer Council says it is possible that "a small proportion of melanomas unrelated to the sun might also arise because of factors like viruses, chemicals and environmental pollutants".

Hayden's memorial notice (left) and Hayden Price (right).
Hayden's mum Liza Price said her son "will be sorely missed beyond words." Source: Facebook

‘Most heartbreaking news’

Tributes have flown in for the “true warrior” with many paying their respects to Hayden’s parents and two older brothers.

“You are all in our thoughts and loved so much,” one person wrote. “His smile will never be forgotten and the love and experiences that you and Nath gave him in 10 years is inspiring.”

“We are so blessed to have known one of the kindest, funniest and bravest kids who was so full of adventure and exploration,” another said. “Hayden leaves so many beautiful memories for you and for us.”

“This is the most heartbreaking news, I am so sorry for your loss,” someone else added.

“I’ll light a candle to help him on his journey,” another promised. “Sending you all love.”

Friends and family of the Price family have been invited to “celebrate the life of beautiful Hayden” at a service on Tuesday October 11.

It will take place at Sunshine Coast Grammar School at 4.30pm.

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