• Damien MacRae and his son Aiden, 7, hope to see their dream of Aussie beach Lego become a reality. (Facebook/Lego Surf Rescue)Source: Facebook/Lego Surf Rescue
"I have stage 4 skin cancer, so my son Aiden and I thought we'd build a set that celebrated heroes that wear sunscreen."
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

15 May 2017 - 2:13 PM  UPDATED 15 May 2017 - 2:17 PM

As a child, Damien MacRae loved playing with Lego, and going to the beach.

Now, many years later, his son Aiden, seven, has inherited his love of Lego, and they play with it together every day.

But their time is running out. 

Three years ago the 42-year-old Sydney father found out he had a melanoma on his ear. The cancer has since spread to his lungs and brain, and last month in a Facebook message he revealed that his brain tumours have multiplied and are very aggressive. 

"Unfortunately, my doctors say that I have 6-10 weeks left to live. Six months would be a miracle," he wrote on Facebook on April 14.

"Obviously this has made me focus on spending as much time as I can with family and friends." 

And achieving "one dying wish". 

Damien and Aiden always wanted to add a beach set to the Lego towns they created, but could never find one. 

So they came up with Surf Lego Rescue - a design inspired by Surf Life Saving which highlights the importance of sun protection and skin cancer checks, and they have pitched to Lego on the Lego Ideas website.  

"I have stage 4 skin cancer, so my son Aiden and I thought we'd build a set that celebrated heroes that wear sunscreen," Damien wrote on the website. 

The Surf Rescue set includes four sun-smart surf rescuers (wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen), a patrol tower, shark-spotting drone, jet ski, quad bike, rockpool, surf and sand.

The surf rescuers are named after famous people who have had their own battles with skin cancer.

Lego character, 'Bob' pays tribute to Jamaican musician Bob Marley, who died of a metastatic melanoma in 1981 at the age of 36. 

'Keats' is named in honour of American actress Diane Keaton, a two-time skin cancer survivor an a passionate advocate for proper sun care.

The surf rescuer, 'Hugh', is after Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who has spoken publicly about his fights with skin cancer.

And 'Nic' is a reference to Australian actress Nicole Kidman, who had a skin cancer removed from her leg and is a passionate advocate for skin cancer research.

Damien and Aiden's idea quickly attracted the 10,000 public votes necessary on Lego Ideas to have it officially considered by the Danish company, which is now in the process of reviewing the entries.

"We’re so sorry to hear about your illness," Lego wrote in response to their pitch.

"The entire LEGO Ideas team is honored you and Aiden have chosen to express your important message about surf and sun safety through LEGO bricks.

"Our warmest thoughts go out to you, your family, and friends. You and your son’s tribute and message have reached tens of thousands worldwide. We celebrate this accomplishment with you and your family."

The review process normally takes four months, and if approved it generally takes another six months for the new products to go on sale worldwide. 

A Lego spokeswoman told the Australian Financial Review they would "work as fast as we can, and stay in touch with Damien and his family during the process", but could not promise an earlier answer.

But for Damien, it's already been worth it.

"Getting to 10,000 votes was my goal," he told the BBC. "And the possibility that I could leave a legacy for Aiden."

"To know that he can take ideas that he's come up with, on the bedroom floor, and take it out to the world."

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