Melanoma Research Foundation


A Year of Progress and Hope 

From the desk of MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira:

As 2023 comes to a close, we'd like to reflect on some of the major advancements in the treatment of cutaneous and metastatic uveal melanoma — bringing hope to many patients and their loved ones. The MRF’s mission is to eradicate melanoma by accelerating medical RESEARCH while EDUCATING to and ADVOCATING for the melanoma community and we are pleased to share a few highlights from this year here

Melanoma research breakthroughs have led to approvals in both targeted therapies for BRAF mutations and immunotherapy treatments for many cancers such as thyroid, colorectal, head and neck, triple negative breast cancer and many more. Since the development of immunotherapy in the last 10 years, the survival rates of patients with cutaneous melanoma and distant metastatic disease has increased from 15% to over 50%.   

We are grateful for our wonderful and resilient community who support our mission each and every day, shares their own story to inspire and uplift others and advocate for themselves and each other. We are looking forward to 2024 and continuing our work to eradicate all forms of melanoma - cutaneous, ocular, mucosal, acral and pediatric. We wish you and your loved ones a healthy and gentle holiday season and New Year! 

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With gratitude,

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10 Ways to Support the Melanoma Community

As we enter into a new year, let's embrace a set of resolutions to help raise awareness, promote prevention, and support those affected by melanoma, fostering a brighter and sun-safe future for all. Explore our curated list of resolutions below and challenge yourself to select and adopt one or more to kickstart the New Year!

1. #GetNaked for your annual skin check and pledge to #EyeGetDilated for your next annual eye exam & encourage 5 friends to do the same! 

2. Advocate on Capitol Hill for the legislative issues impacting the melanoma community during the upcoming Advocacy Days (March 3 – 5).

3. Raise critical funds & participate in one of the nationwide 2024 Miles for Melanoma 5k run/walks or attend an MRF Gala in Denver or NYC.

4. Donate to the newly announced Legacy of Progress Endowment Fund to leave a lasting impact on the melanoma community.

5. Plan your future and create a lasting legacy through including the MRF in your will.

6. Submit your personal journey with melanoma as a patient, thriver or caregiver through a brief testimonial to be shared across the MRF’s social media channels to help inspire & educate others.

7. Become a monthly recurring donor.  

8. Join VISION if you are an ocular melanoma patient.

9. Become a Patient/Caregiver Grant Reviewer

10. Participate in a Clinical Trial.

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Be the Voice of the Melanoma Community on Capitol Hill

Registration is now open! Register today to participate in the 2024 Advocacy Days held March 3-5 in Washington, DC. Please note the $25 fee covers registration and a tote bag! Melanoma advocates will convene for an impactful three-day session on Capitol Hill and advance issues that matter most to the melanoma community, such as federal funding for melanoma research, equitable and affordable access to testing and treatments and melanoma prevention. Advocacy Days begins with interactive training sessions that will help participants prepare for their congressional meetings. Help advocate and foster a better future for melanoma at the national level!  

The MRF would like to thank our 2024 Advocacy Days sponsors Merck and Replimune

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Congressional Skin Cancer Briefing on the FDA's Proposed Sunscreen Rule

On December 7, the MRF’s Director of Advocacy, Kim Watkins, joined a panel discussion during a congressional skin cancer briefing attended by Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), Co-Chair of the Congressional Skin Cancer Caucus. The MRF, healthcare experts and industry leaders discussed concerns over the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed rule that would reduce the number of sunscreen filters available to consumers to two. This proposed rule could further widen the gap in the number of available sunscreen filter formulations between the US and other countries, increase health disparities for underserved populations and increase melanoma incidence rates. 

Read the MRF’s recent blog on the Congressional Skin Cancer Briefing here.



Apply for 2024 Melanoma Research Funding

In 2024, the MRF will offer several research grants and awards with requests for proposals opening in early January. You can review the upcoming opportunities and access more information through the requests for proposals linked below:  

1. Resident/Fellow Research Grant: 1-year $10,000 awards to fund clinical or laboratory-based research projects for residents & fellows early in their careers. Eligible projects focus on better understanding the prevention, early detection and treatment of all melanoma subtypes. RFP available here, application deadline of January 31, 2024. 

2. MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) Pilot Translational Award: 1-year pilot proposal for $50,000 focuses on clinical/ translational research to create findings that could then lend themselves to larger, multicenter grant proposals. Tenured and non-tenured track faculty are encouraged to apply. RFP available here, application deadline of February 20, 2024.  

3. MRFBC Young Investigator Team Award to Advance the Field of Translational Immuno-Oncology provides up to $150,000 per year for 2 years to an investigative collaborative team. The Established Investigator Awards (EIAs) provide funding of up to $125,000 per year for 2 years to established melanoma researchers, or senior researchers. The Career Development Awards (CDAs) providefunding of up to $50,000 per year for 2 years to junior investigators. In addition to general CDAs, we offer the MRF Prevention Award in Honor of Teddi Mellencamp. RFP available here, all applications have a deadline of March 31, 2024.   

Application deadlines and eligibility requirements can be found at the link below:  

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2023 Season Recap

The 2023 Miles for Melanoma season has come to an end! In December, we had our last miles event in Fort Myers, FL where the melanoma community came together to raise $35,657,65 that will go towards life-saving funds for the future of melanoma research. At 16 events from coast to coast and over $1.1 million raised, THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this Miles for Melanoma season a tremendous success. Our first 2024 5K event will take place in Miami, FL on Sunday, Feburary 11 at the Miami Zoo. All other 2024 dates will be announced in the new year.  

If you attended a Miles for Melanoma event this year, we want to hear from you! Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey to tell us what you liked about the event, and which areas we can improve to make next year's run/walk even better. We look forward to seeing you at a run/walk in your community! 

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Keith Woolley alongside his wife and daughter

Donor Story: Keith Woolley

In September, Keith Woolley was awarded the 2023 Courage Award at the MRF’s Denver Gala. Not only does he have an incredibly touching melanoma story to share, he has also played a huge role in donating to the MRF and supporting our mission. Throughout Keith’s journey he states, "Stay in the fight and thrive. Focus on your controllables (physical, mental, nutritional and spiritual health). Put your life in the hands of the experts and do EXACTLY what they tell you. Surround yourself with the love and support of friends and family." Click here to read his full melanoma journey and why he donates to the MRF.

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Thank You for Your Service

The MRF is grateful to Alison Martin, MD, who served on the Board for 8 years and as Vice Chair for a year; Glenn Merlino, PhD, who served on the Board for 6 years and as Scientific Advisory Committee Co-Chair for 5 years; and Cheryl Stratos, who served on the Board for 11 years, as Secretary for 3 years and as Vice Chair for 2 years. Their collective leadership, commitment to advancing hope for the melanoma community and dedication to our mission has been invaluable for the MRF. We thank Alison, Glenn and Cheryl for tirelessly steering the Foundation to better enable progress for the melanoma community and look forward to their continued support.





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