Melanoma Research Foundation
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Pediatric Melanoma Awareness Month

From the desk of MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira:

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and for our community that means we have an incredible opportunity to draw attention to pediatric melanoma – a rare form of melanoma that impacts 400 children a year in the United States. For those who have been touched by a rare disease, it can feel very isolating—especially when a rare disease impacts a child.

This year, we are excited to launch a new campaign with Spot the Dog and how "Spot-ing the Difference" may save your child's life. Because of its rarity and the fact that it can have a different appearance than melanoma in adults, pediatric melanoma can be often overlooked or misdiagnosed, even by a doctor. The Spot-ing the Difference campaign encourages parents to learn about different ways pediatric melanoma may appear on their child's skin and closely monitor for new, changing or otherwise suspicious spots. Spot also teaches kids how to perform their own self-skin checks as they grow old enough to take an active role in maintaining their health and to report anything they find to their parent or trusted adult.

Please join us during the month of September, download some of our free educational resources for pediatric melanoma and share them with your local school or community group, including our new pediatric melanoma postcard. All educational resources are FREE and will ship directly to you. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support our pediatric melanoma program please click below.

Support the MRF

Measuring the Impact of Your Generosity: MRF Stewardship Report

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma, and our work is made possible by the incredible generosity of our donors. Guided by the principles of responsible stewardship and continued progress, especially during the unprecedented challenges of the previous year, the MRF Stewardship Report shares some recent highlights of what our community has accomplished together. Click below to read the Fall 2021 Stewardship Report and learn how your support continues to advance the MRF's mission to eradicate melanoma:

MRF Stewardship Report

25th Anniversary: Overcoming Treatment Resistance

As the MRF continues to celebrate its 25th Anniversary, each month we are highlighting members of the scientific community who have received vital research funding through the MRF and have worked towards new breakthroughs in melanoma research and treatments. This month we shared a guest blog post by Vito Rebecca, PhD of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Rebecca was awarded a 2019 Career Development Award for the study of mechanisms to overcome melanoma treatment resistance, funded by the Denver and Philadelphia Gala Fund-a-Grant programs. By identifying "persister cells" that evade treatment and can metastasize to distant organs, this research aims to reveal new, more effective treatment targets and has led to multi-institutional collaborations involving new doctoral and post-doctoral trainees, many of whom are underrepresented minorities in science. To learn more, read Dr. Rebecca's blog below:

Overcoming Melanoma Treatment Resistance

Join the Global Ocular Melanoma Registry

Ocular melanoma patients and caregivers: join the VISION Registry! In May, the MRF's CURE OM initiative launched a first of its kind patient reported ocular melanoma (OM) registry, and enrollment is now open to patients around the world. What are the possible causes of OM? How can it be more effectively treated to improve outcomes? The VISION Registry will help to answer these questions and more by uniting OM patients and caregivers with leading physicians and scientists in groundbreaking research efforts to develop more effective treatments and, one day, a cure for OM. To learn more about this global initiative and to join the VISION Registry, click below.

Join the VISION Registry

Calling All Researchers! New Funding Opportunities

The Melanoma Research Foundation will soon release the Request for Proposals (RFP) for 2022 Medical Student Research Awards, and applications will be accepted from September 13, 2021 until November 15, 2021 at 5pm ET. The goal of these awards is to promote research opportunities to medical students early in their careers by funding clinical or laboratory-based research projects focused on better understanding the prevention, biology and treatment of melanoma, including its rare subtypes. The RFP will be posted in the MRF Research Center, and questions about this or any other funding opportunities may be directed to

Additionally, the Department of Defense Melanoma Research Program (MRP) recently announced a new funding opportunity with applications due by October 20, 2021. The MRP Discovery Award is a 2-year, $200,000 grant to support innovative, non-incremental, high-risk/potentially high-reward research to provide new insights, paradigms, technologies or applications in melanoma. Full details and application instructions can be found on the MRP website. To assist researchers in our community, the MRF partnered with Donna Kimbark, PhD, Program Manager of the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (CDMRP), to create a webinar that explains the federal application process and tips to increase the chance of an application being selected. Dr. Kimbark has worked at the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program since 2002, where she coordinates the creation and approval of grant solicitations. Watch the webinar here, and click below for more information about the current MRP funding opportunities.

Apply for Federal Research Funding

Postponed: 2021 Pediatric Melanoma Summit

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recent Delta variant concerns and out of an abundance of caution, the Melanoma Research Foundation has postponed the 2021 Pediatric Melanoma Summit until January 28-30, 2022. Our main priority is to keep our young melanoma warriors and their families safe. With cases rising, especially in children who are not yet eligible for vaccinations, we have concluded that postponing is in the best interest of our pediatric melanoma community.

Families who made a reservation with Great Wolf Lodge will be able to either cancel their reservation or move it to the new weekend at no additional charge. If you did not make reservations with Great Wolf Lodge for September and would like to attend in January, the MRF will provide a new registration link for the January event in the near future. We appreciate your understanding as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times and look forward to seeing everyone in January. For questions or concerns, please reach out to

Miles for Melanoma Raises Half a Million!

Following the first six virtual run/walks of 2021, the second half of the Miles for Melanoma season kicked off with three exciting in-person events in August! Together, the incredible communities of Cleveland, the Twin Cities and Philadelphia raised over $175,000, bringing the Miles for Melanoma season total to more than half a million dollars!

In September we're keeping the momentum going with four upcoming run/walks in New England (September 11), New York City (September 18), New Jersey (September 19) and Chicago (September 25). Registration is open for all four events, so sign up today and help us hit our fundraising goals!

Can't attend in person? Download the new Miles for Melanoma app to track your fastest times, view top teams on the leaderboard and more! Download the free app in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

The MRF thanks Miles for Melanoma National Sponsors Neutrogena, Coolibar, Novartis, Natera and Pfizer. For the full calendar of 2021 Miles for Melanoma events, click here:

Miles for Melanoma Event Calendar

Attend a Gala!

The 2021 Gala season is here! Over the last 20 years, MRF galas have raised more than $15.3 million for melanoma research, education and advocacy! After a successful series of virtual galas in 2020, we're excited to return to in-person celebrations at the 10th Annual Denver Gala on September 23, the 20th Annual New York Gala on October 14 and the 7th Annual Chicago Gala on November 4!

At this month's Denver Gala, the MRF will present a Legacy Award to Karl Lewis, MD, the inaugural Influencer Award to Scott A. Walter, MD, and the Leadership Award to Elise A. Barish.

In New York this October, Johnson & Johnson and Walgreens will be recognized with a Corporate Leadership Award (and will also be recognized at the Chicago Gala), Nobel Laureate James P. Allison, PhD will be honored with a Legacy Award, Muneeb Shah, DO will receive the Influencer Award and MRF Board Vice Chair Steven Silverstein will be presented with a Leadership Award.

At the Chicago Gala in November, Sunandana Chandra, MD, MS will be recognized with a Humanitarian Award and Excellence in Prevention Awards will be presented to Tracy Campbell, MD and Jessica Sheehan, MD. ChicagoNow blogger Howard Moore will receive the Influencer Award.

For more information about each of the 2021 MRF Galas, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit the MRF Galas page.

MRF Launches Gift Planning Website

MRF supporters have become more interested in gift planning to the organization, particularly the areas of bequests, charitable gift annuities, gifts of life insurance and IRA rollovers. In the past few years alone, the MRF has received nearly $1 million in planned gifts.

To better connect with the needs of our donors, the MRF has added a planned giving resource to its website at These interactive pages enable us to immediately respond to inquiries, provide educational materials for gift planning and assist the melanoma community with additional resources on topics such as retirement, taxes, social security and more.

Please visit the site and subscribe to our new quarterly e-newsletter focused on financial health issues and other important areas of interest. If you are making estate plans and need resources, please reach out to the MRF’s Chief Development Officer Susan Vogel at

Learn More About Legacy Giving

Upcoming Events

  • Date TBD: Save the Date - Miles for Melanoma Los Angeles

View MRF Events



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