But her world was turned upside down in late 2012 when, at just 21, doctors found a malignant mole on her left shoulder.
She subsequently found a lump under her arm, had her lymph nodes removed, and later found the cancer had spread to her liver and other parts of her body.
The Queensland-raised East Timor volunteer was given just months to live in 2014.
Miraculously, Emma, now 24, has since responded to a new trial drug and with the love of new husband Serge, who she married just a month into treatment, now has hope when for so long there was none.
Her condition is still considered terminal, but Emma is determined to not sit around and feel sorry for herself while her future remains uncertain.
“Instead I made the decision to dedicate the time I have left to raising awareness for melanoma, the need to be sun-smart and also raise much needed funds for melanoma research,” Emma tells The Carousel.
The other project close to her heart is Melanoma March, Melanoma Institute Australia’s nationwide fundraising campaign.
Melanoma March walking events will be hosted in 24 locations nationally from February 27-April 10, 2016. For more information, to register to walk, or sponsor someone who is walking, click here.
It was just a month after her clinical trial began that Emma stumbled across a flyer for a similar event near her Brisbane home.
“I decided to register at the last minute and before I knew it, my story and fundraising page had been shared nationally and we were watching the total growing by the minute.
“In the end I raised over $23,000. The Melanoma March not only ignited a confidence in me, but a purpose to raise money for research.”
Emma says it’s an exciting time for melanoma research but knows first hand that there is so much more to be done.
“Research is all about tomorrow, not today, and ensuring that tomorrow is a better place than today.”
A new survey shows that despite high awareness of melanoma in Australia, even in those who regard themselves as well-informed about the deadly disease, 46 percent do not know melanoma is the most common cancer in 15 to 39-year-olds.
The latest MIA survey also found…
- 78 percent of Australians 18–34 year olds have not had a skin check within the last 12 months
- An alarming 39 percent of Australians 18–34 year olds have never had a skin check
- 38 percent admitting they “just don’t think about doing it” and 29 percent saying they “do not believe they are at risk”. Older Australians have not fared much better in terms of skin checks as the survey revealed that 80 percent of Australians 35 -49 year olds and 55 percent of 50 plus year olds have also not had a skin check within the last 12 months.
For more tips on how to stay sun safe, click here.