What an amazing time we are living in… 

We are seeing new protocols increase melanoma five-year survival rates to nearly 98%!  It is remarkable when you consider in 2009 survival rates were just 4%. I remember getting all excited in 2011 when we saw survival rates bump up to 10%. Life has come full circle for me in this short time. This year I found myself back at UCLA meeting with Dr. Ribas’s research fellows as a patient advocate and MRF board member. I sat in a room of doctors who worked on the idea of PLX4032. They could not believe there was a survivor from that study that started this new line of treatment options less than 10 years ago.

This year has been a busy year for the Stratos family when it comes to melanoma. Mike has continued to study and track what is going on in clinical research all over the world on our fightingmelanoma page. Sunshine Sergei continues to get checked and has had two stage I melanomas removed and is learning to stay out of the sun.  Unfortunately, your skin is like an elephant - it never forgets. Sometimes mama does know best. Our dear friend Jim Flanders was diagnosed with stage III melanoma and got Mike and me back in the fight. This time we knew where to go and who to talk to. Our mission was accomplished and in 10 months Jim is showing no evidence of disease.

We just finished working on a very successful DC Wings of Hope event that raised over $400,000 that will go directly to outreach and the local hospice care center.  I was thrilled to be supported by my dear friends and family at this event. We honored doctor Dr. Venna of the Schar Cancer Institute who is leading the way in early detection practices and treatment options for melanoma. We also saw we still have a way to go until we can help everyone with this disease.

For #GivingTuesday I would like you to take 11 minutes to watch this video and get to know some of the faces of melanoma. Jennifer lost her battle at 28, and Melanie at 16 is still in treatment and is still looking for her magic pink pill.

If melanoma has affected, you or someone you love please make a donation to the MRF on #GIVINGTUESDAY!