Melanoma Research Foundation

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Join us, Advocate!

From the desk of MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira:

Who is most likely to spot your melanoma – YOU. No one can tell your story or advocate better for the melanoma community than you can. At the MRF, we involve patients and caregivers in all facets of our mission from particiapting as an advocate reviewer in our research grant program to sharing their experience as a panelist at an educational event. One of our most important events of the year is Advocacy Days (March 3-5) in Washington, DC. Patients and caregivers from all over the United States join us in Washington, DC to speak to their lawmakers on issues that are impacting the melanoma community. Registration ends January 31 so make sure you register today to secure your spot and help us amplify the voice of the melanoma community to impact policy and better outcomes for patients and their loved ones.

The MRF is completely funded by the melanoma community it serves and we are grateful for your trust and support in helping us advance our mission. 

With gratitude,

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Advocacy Days - 2 Days Left to Register!

Registration closes January 31, so make sure you register today to participate in the 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, preserving access to melanoma prevention tools like sunscreen, telehealth and more. 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. 

Please note the $25 fee covers registration and a tote bag! The MRF would like to thank our Advocacy Days sponsors Merck and Replimune, Iovance, Kenvue and Novartis.

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CURE OM Options Bring Hope Award Announcement 

We are excited to announce & congratulate the winners of the inaugural CURE OM Options Bring Hope Team Award: Bruce Ksander, PhD from The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Rizwan Haq MD, PhD from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Margarete Karg, PhD from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary for their research project titled, “Identification of molecular pathways that drive uveal melanoma metastasis.” The goal of their work is to figure out the main factors that drive uveal melanoma (UM) to spread and specifically target the liver, with the hopes that this research could potentially guide the development of effective therapeutic interventions. 

This research award is made in honor of ocular melanoma patient and advocate, Lindsay Zubeck, and is generously funded by the Family and Friends of the Zubeck and Miller families along with the fantastic OM community. The CURE OM Options Bring Hope Team Award is intended to advance treatment for all patients with metastatic uveal melanoma, not limited by HLA type. 

Learn more about their research here

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Upcoming Educational Programs and Resources

Join Today's Ask the Expert

Today, January 30, join Dr. Gino from USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and patient Advocate, Donna Soskin in our first Ask the Expert of the year as they discuss the mechanisms of how oncolytic viruses work against cancer, how these viruses are designed to minimize risk of infection, the patient perspective on oncolytic virus therapies and more! Register here to be a part of the conversation. We would like to thank Replimune for sponsoring this webinar. 

Patient Symposia Series

On December 7, 2023, we hosted our virtual Patient and Caregiver Symposium. To view this recording and other recordings from our previous patient symposia series are available to view on the MRF YouTube page. 


The MRF launches additional 2024 Research Programs - Apply Today!

This year, the MRF is offering several research grants and awards with requests for proposals. You can review the upcoming opportunities and access more information through the requests for proposals linked below:  

1. The MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) Pilot Translational Award  funded by the Brodman Charitable Fund & Friends provides up to $50,000 for one year for clinical/ translational research. As this is a pilot award, preliminary data is not required. Tenured and non-tenured track faculty are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is 5pm ET on February 20

2. 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 team focused on immunotherapy research. The application deadline is 5pm ET on March 1.

3. The Established Investigator Awards (EIAs) provide funding of up to $125,000 per year for 2 years to established melanoma researchers. The application deadline is 5pm ET on March 1.

4. The Career Development Awards (CDAs) provide funding 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. The application deadline is 5pm ET on March 1.

If you are interested, please feel free to contact us at with any questions. 

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 Apply to be an Advocate Reviewer!

The MRF is currently seeking melanoma patient advocates to join the 2024 research grant review panel. As patients and their loved ones are those most affected by research advances and the development of new therapies, the MRF believes their input to be incredibly valuable to the grant review process. Beginning in 2019, melanoma patient advocates were invited to participate in the grant review process to share their perspective on which areas of research should receive grant funding. Formal scientific training is not required, but those with such a background are welcome to apply as well. RFP available here, all applications are due by April 25.                                 

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 Student/Fellow Grant Opportunities

Discover the joy of contributing to groundbreaking research! This Valentine's Day, consider the unique and meaningful gift of naming a research grant in honor or memory of a cherished individual.

You have the power to support research initiatives through the MRF, making a difference for bright minds exploring melanoma. With approximately $25 million already allocated in peer-reviewed research grants, your involvement can help advance medical knowledge and provide opportunities for aspiring researchers.

From one-year, $3,000 Medical Student Grants to the latest $10,000 Resident Fellow Grant, we offer diverse avenues for anyone to get involved. In 2023, we celebrated a record number of Medical Student grant awards, with a focus on rare melanoma research. The 2024 medical student research applications are currently being reviewed, and other grant programs for 2024 are nearing completion.

Whether you want to commemorate a loved one or choose any other meaningful name, donors have the flexibility to personalize their contribution. Act now to seize this unique opportunity and make a lasting impact.

For more details or to get involved, contact Liz Reilly at Hurry, as limited opportunities are available!

Explore the full spectrum of our Research Grant program by visiting the Research Grant RFP page. Your support can be the catalyst for groundbreaking discoveries in melanoma research!  

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Take Advantage! Purchase a Panama Jack Product and Help Giveback to the Melanoma Community

MRF Cause Marketing partner, Panama Jack is taking a commendable step towards supporting the melanoma community. Beginning January 28 to February 1, Panama Jack is pledging to donate 15% of all sales made through their website to the Melanoma Research Foundation. This initiative underscores Panama Jack's commitment to making a meaningful impact in the fight against melanoma. The funds generated from all sales will contribute to crucial research efforts, enhance educational programs and support advocacy initiatives dedicated to raising awareness about melanoma. By aligning their sales with such a vital cause, Panama Jack demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of their customers and a broader mission of promoting skin health. Click here to shop today!

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Gearing up for the 2024 Miles for Melanoma Season

In 2023, more than 6,000 participants in 16 cities came together to celebrate melanoma patients, survivors and caregivers while raising over $1.1 million for melanoma research, education and advocacy. Our 2024 season will kick off in Miami, FL for its inaugural Miles for Melanoma 5k event on Sunday, February 11! Registration for Boston, MA (May 4), Memphis, TN (May 4) and Washington, DC (May 11) will open next month so be on the lookout! Visit the Miles for Melanoma homepage to find a run/walk near you, mark your calendar and get ready to run, walk and raise life-saving funds to cure melanoma!  

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Empowering Change: Jody Carroll's CommUNITY Fundraiser and Melanoma Journey

Melanoma thriver and advocate, Jody Carroll, in a heartfelt effort to contribute to the fight against melanoma, hosted a CommUNITY Fundraiser along with Club Pilates of Perrysburgon January 14th bringing together Pilates enthusiasts and generously donated all proceeds to the MRF. Having experienced her own recent melanoma journey, Jody's commitment to raising awareness and funds for research is truly inspiring. The event successfully raised $1,275, a testament to the community's support. To learn more about Jody's personal journey and dedication to melanoma advocacy, read her story here. Additionally, if you're interested in making a difference, consider hosting your own CommUNITY Fundraiser to support the MRF. Together, we can make strides in advancing research and awareness for this critical cause. 

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MRF Board Welcomes Dr. Ashani Weeraratna and Kyleigh LiPira

In January, the Board of Directors appointed two new members, Kyleigh LiPira and Ashani Weeraratna, PhD, who have been longtime advocates for the melanoma community. Dr. Weeraratna is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology, E.V. McCollum Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as the Associate Director for Laboratory Research at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Before joining the Board, Dr. Weeraratna was a member of the MRF’s Science Advisory Committee (SAC) and became SAC Co-Chair in January.

Kyleigh LiPira, MBA joined the MRF in July 2015 and assumed the role of CEO in January 2018. Prior to her tenure at the MRF Kyleigh led fundraising programs at Johns Hopkins Medicine for close to 10 years.

We thank the Board of Directors for their dedication to the melanoma community and helping to define the vision, mission and values of the MRF. Read the full announcement here.

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Upcoming Events

January 31: Ask the Expert: Oncolytic Viral Therapies in the Treatment of Melanoma and Skin Cancers

February 11: Miami Miles for Melanoma

March 3 - 5: Advocacy Days 

April 27: Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northerwestern University Patient and Caregiver Symposium 

May 3 - 5: Eyes on a Cure: Patient and Caregiver Symposium 

May 4: Memphis Miles for Melanoma 

May 4: New England Miles for Melanoma

May 11: DC Miles for Melanoma 

May 18: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Patient and Caregiver Symposium

In the News

One Change Bracelets is dedicated to raising funds for melanoma research - Miami's Community News 

PCPC President discusses key takeaways from Congressional Skin Cancer Causus expert panel - Cosmetics Design 

Sara Ferguson diagnosed with malignant melanoma - The Guardian

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