A courageous young Western Australian who was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma at the age of 22, and worked his way to become the founder and CEO of melanomaWA, was announced as the John Curtin Medallist for 2014, at a special ceremony at Curtin University today.
Clinton Heal was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 2005 and soon realised that little support existed in WA for people receiving such a diagnosis, or for their circle of support.
Clinton’s response to the lack of support was one of focused and effective action, and in 2008 he established the not-for-profit organisation melanomaWA.
This morning he was presented with the John Curtin Medal, awarded by the University to individuals or organisations displaying the attributes associated with John Curtin, Australia’s World War II Prime Minister – vision, leadership and community service.
Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said Clinton’s humbling story exemplifies a journey of courage and community service.
“Clinton had a vision – to help others in the community with metastatic melanoma gain access to the information and support they required to improve their prognosis,” Professor Terry said.
“Since his initial diagnosis, Clinton has had 35 tumours removed and it is inspiring to consider the courage that it must have taken for a young man with a life-threatening disease to have the desire and vision to help other sufferers while needing to manage his own physical and emotional wellbeing.
“There is little doubt that Clinton’s leadership is the absolute driving force behind melanomaWA – both when it was established and in its continued growth as a vitally important organisation today.”
From the outset, Clinton has been proactive in managing the disease. After his diagnosis, he kept up his work as a respected professional in the medical imaging department at the Peel Health Campus, and his strong sporting links.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging and an MBA – both from Curtin University – and has combined his education and outstanding personal attributes to emerge as one of the State’s most capable and inspiring young leaders.
Professor Terry said Clinton’s journey as an advocate, leader and visionary has raised awareness about metastatic melanoma across Western Australia and has had an impact on thousands of lives.
“Clinton exemplifies the attributes of John Curtin and is a most worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal for 2014.” The annually-awarded John Curtin Medal is the highest non-academic award presented by the University. Find out more about the John Curtin Medals and past winners.
- Clinton Heal established melanomaWA in 2008, and more recently, he has extended the organisation to provide informed advice and education to the broader community. It is estimated that since his first presentation was made at the Pluto LNG Project in Karratha in 2009, he has reached an audience of 20,00 people.
- John Curtin was sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia on 7 October 1941. Curtin University celebrates John Curtin Day by awarding the John Curtin Medal to outstanding individuals or organisations who have demonstrated his qualities of vision, leadership and community service and by the participation of students and staff in John Curtin Weekend community service activities.
- Images from the John Curtin Medal Ceremony are available.
- Interviews with Clinton Heal can be arranged on request.
- Watch a short video outlining Clinton Heal’s story.