May is Melanoma Awareness Month., as a survivor and advocate for ocular melanoma I ask you consider three things this month. The first is to make a note for your next annual eye appointment to get your eyes dilated during the exam as this can help detect ocular melanoma. The second is to perform a self-skin exam at home, and have an annual full body exam by a board certified dermatologist to help identify any new, changing or otherwise suspicious spot on your skin in which you should make an appointment with a dermatologist. Lastly, please consider a donation to Miles for Melanoma which takes place next month, or if you are in the Denver area please feel free to join the CURE OM team as well.
This year in addition to survivor, I have added advocate to my fight with ocular melanoma which is a year-round effort and not just during Melanoma Awareness Month.
In March I headed to Washington DC for some advocacy work through the Melanoma Research Foundation. As part of this visit to the hill, I met with staff from my elected officials, Senator Hickenlooper and Congresswoman DeGette. The issues discussed during these short meetings included appropriations through CDMRP for melanoma research, changes for Telehealth, Clinical Trials as well as tanning beds for minors.
Last month my partner Shira and I were in Tampa for the 13th Annual Eyes on a Cure: Ocular Melanoma Patient & Caregiver Symposium. Over the course of the weekend were learned about the recent advances in research for ocular melanoma and some of the clinical trials which were taking place. With a combination of the science as well as meeting other patients and caregivers it provided an opportunity for both of us to further expand our knowledge on ocular melanoma. This event is free to attend thanks to sponsorships from the leading pharmaceutical and bioscience companies working on ocular melanoma. We both look forward to the 2024 event taking place in Boston.
In June, Shira and I will be participating in the annual Miles for Melanoma walk here in Denver. If you are in Denver we welcome you to join the walk as well as our Team, CURE OM. If you are not able to attend in person we welcome you to donate as we raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation. As a thank you for donations, if you donate $100 or more you will receive a gift certificate for the price of an 8”x10” matted print of your choice. Donations of $250 or more will receive a gift certificate for the price of a 16”x20” matted print. While you may select a matted print, the value may be used towards any of my photography.
In the upcoming months I am looking at additional ways to help advocate for ocular melanoma and will be sharing these through the newsletter as well as social media channels which I have a presence.
As always, I thank you for your support over these six plus years since I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma and remind you to be sure to get a dilated eye exam on an annual basis, if it helps schedule for each May during Melanoma Awareness Month.