Melanoma News Round-Up, May 17

So much exciting news as we pass the halfway point of Melanoma Awareness Month!

ICYMI we shared our new video highlighting MRA’s collaborative approach to melanoma research and raising awareness.


We also shared Jamie’s story as she expressed ‘the reality of “surviving” stage IV melanoma.’

Next Tuesday, May 20, two exciting events will take place:

Finally, here are a few highlights of the melanoma news coverage this week:

10 Things to Know About Melanoma via ABCNews

A bittersweet story about a young mother of two who lost her husband to melanoma when he was only 28 via Delaware State News

A melanoma survivor tells teens to “rock the skin you’re in,” use sunscreen & avoid indoor tanning via WOWT

Blood biomarkers may enhance melanoma detection potentially reducing the need for invasive skin biopsies via MedicalXpress

‘Michelle’s Melanoma Army’ educates teens on skin cancer via The Anniston Star

Encouraging results for nivolumab in hopes of raising survival expectations for advanced melanoma patients via BMS News





Ready. Set. May!

Rounding up all the highlights from the first week of Melanoma Awareness Month!

Melanoma Awareness Month is here and we’ve got tons in store this month.  Check out MRA’s new video “Progress for Patients” below.   If you like it, share it!  And don’t forget to celebrate Melanoma Monday on May 5th by engaging with MRA on social media!

USA Today offers up some tips to prevent melanoma just in time for May!

Scotland looks to curb tanning bed use as skin cancer rates continue to climb via BBC

Lea Michele Urges You to Wear Sunscreen in New Melanoma PSA (VIDEO)via WetPaint

May Day via SeattlePI

American Idol Live! tour to kick off June 24 via USA Today

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Jedd Wolchok Describes Stunning Success of Cancer Immunotherapy in Scientific American Feature via Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Melanoma News Round-Up, April 25

Catch the latest updates from MRA in our April newsletter! And don’t forget to lend your voice to helping us defeat melanoma through our Thunderclap campaign!

L’Oreal Exec’s Personal Battle with Melanoma Led to Sunscreen Ads via AdAge

Big Increase in Most Serious Skin Cancer Says Charity via BBC Wales

How I Finally Wised Up About the Sun via Glamour

The CDC Launches New ‘Burning Truth’ Campaign on the Dangers of Tanning via CDC

Should You Buy Illegal Foreign Sunscreens? via Slate

EU Agency Backs Approval of new GlaxoSmithKline Melanoma Drug via Reuters UK


Gearing up for Giving Tuesday


You’ve probably heard a lot of Giving Tuesday talk recently, either from MRA or other nonprofits in your orbit.  If you want to learn what Giving Tuesday is and how you can personally help MRA on December 3rd, keep reading!

Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving back that comes on the heels of the holiday shopping crush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  On Tuesday December 3, 2013, charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday.

On Giving Tuesday, MRA is trying to raise $9,480 –$1 for each person estimated to have died from melanoma in 2013. 100% of every dollar we raise will directly support our world-class scientific research into melanoma, helping us work toward a future when no one will suffer or die from this disease. First Aid Beauty will match the first $1,000 MRA raises on Giving Tuesday, doubling the impact of your donations!

If that isn’t enough incentive to give, we are teaming up with Coola, Eric Javits, First Aid Beauty, and Mott 50 to offer special coupons, gift certificates, and merchandise to everyone who supports MRA on Giving Tuesday!

Supporters who give $5 or more to MRA on Giving Tuesday will get:

-20% off First Aid Beauty’s skincare products
-A $20 gift card to spend on Mott 50’s sun-protective clothing
-20% off organic sun care products from Coola

And if you give $175 or more to MRA, you get a complimentary Eric Javits Champ Visor (a $145 value!) and 30% off a future purchase!

Head to MRA’s Giving Tuesday page to learn more and to get involved!

Unselfies for SMResize

#Un-sel-fie (noun): A show of support for #GivingTuesday and MRA’s melanoma research programs

Did you know that the Oxford Dictionary has named “Selfie” the 2013 Word of the Year?  Well, on Giving Tuesday, we ask everyone who supports us take #unselfies!  An “unselfie” is a picture of someone doing good, or a picture that explains why you give.  We would love if our supporters would share these pictures with us on Facebook and Twitter–we promise to retweet and share them with our entire community!

*All offer redemption information will be emailed to donors by 12/5 please see individual offers for terms of use and expiration dates.

Win a trip to Nashville in MRA’s Donation Contest

prizeo banner

If you’ve been following MRA on social media, you know we are trying something new in the fundraising space.  We’ve teamed up with Prizeo, an online fundraising startup, to create a contest for fans of MRA and/or American Idol that pairs rewards with altruism.  By appealing to American Idol enthusiasts, we hope to grow our community of supporters and to increase melanoma awareness, especially among young people

Each $3 donation to MRA through the contest earns you one entry in a sweepstakes for the grand prize: A free trip to Nashville later this month to see the summer’s final American Idol® Live! Tour show and meet Season 12 winner Candice Glover.  Want to give more?  Great!  Each additional $3 donation will get you another entry, plus there are extra prizes at set giving levels.  Larger donations to MRA will get you an e thank-you from Candice herself, a free BullFrog sunscreen and a custom-designed James Perse t-shirt.

Remember, MRA uses 100% of its publicly-raised funds to help speed the pace of melanoma research.  We are excited that this new contest-driven model allows MRA’s donors to win prizes while helping this important cause.

There are only two weeks left in the contest, so enter now and share it with your friends and family!

mra with idol

Some of the MRA team meeting the Idols before their show in VA. This could be you!

Eight defining experiences as an intern at MRA

MRA intern blog boardBy: Annie Cross, MRA Intern

After a whirlwind summer at the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), I looked back at some of the more memorable experiences.  While some gave me a better perspective on the medical field and some taught me about how the MRA organization runs, all of them opened my mind to the importance of medical research and awareness.  Take a look at the behind-the-scenes perspective from an MRA intern:

1.  An exciting start:

My first week at MRA was during American Society for Clinical Oncology’s annual conference where cancer researchers and organizations come together to share medical advances over the past year.  Throughout the week my colleagues talked about the numerous presentations and corresponding conversations dedicated to melanoma at the conference, and it quickly became clear to me that melanoma research was accelerating fast and with fervor.  Over 40 MRA-sponsored researchers presented their work at the conference, which illustrated MRA’s central role in the field.  Learning about all these advancements was the perfect way to kick off the internship, since it made me realize the impact melanoma research could have on cancer research in general.  And since there were numerous presentations and educational materials to go through after the conference, I was immediately exposed to high-profile medical research that demonstrated the broad importance of melanoma and MRA.

2.  A survivor’s story:

Before coming to MRA, I knew that many people die from late-stage melanoma, and also that clinical trials can save people’s lives.  Both these facts became real a month into the internship when I read a story about a melanoma patient on the verge of death who was essentially saved by an MRA-sponsored clinical trial.

My task was to turn the patient’s video interview into a one-page summary, but I soon realized it was hard to pick out relevant information: Everything I was given seemed so important—not only in the patient’s story, but to the progress of melanoma research.  MRA’s research funds allowed this patient to survive, and the clinical trial data, focused on new immunotherapy treatments, is helping medical researchers across the world find successful treatments to cure advanced-stage melanoma.

I realized that MRA’s work is truly intangible, priceless.

3.  Policy follows suit:

From an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of sun safety and using sunscreen.  Yet, I often wondered how much the general public heard advice like that.  During this internship, however, inspiring news was released that Texas and Nevada had banned tanning beds for minors.  This news showed promise for melanoma prevention and awareness and gave me greater confidence that public policy is on board with skin cancer prevention.

4.  Research is more than a white lab coat:

An integral part of what the Science Team does at MRA is based on individual investigators’ research.  Every summer, the funded researchers send progress reports on the status of their projects.  I was able to read many of these reports, and while the medical jargon required me to look a lot of terms up, I was exposed to the grunt work behind headlines on new medical advances.  Researchers across the country spend countless hours trying to solve medical problems, and it amazed me how much progress a lot of them make in a year’s time.  Reading through the tough science was not easy, but learning about the medical advances was inspiring.

5.  #Melanoma:

melanoma hashtag

I thought people were supposed to stay off social media in the workplace, and I had no intention of using Twitter at work!  But, when I provided coverage of MRA’s social media accounts during a staff member’s vacation, I realized how wrong I was.  Social media is an important part of business today, and is an avenue MRA uses to reach the medical field, including hospitals, doctors, and patients.  Seeing how sponsors, partners, and supporters of MRA interacted on Twitter and Facebook was like stepping outside of the office.   I thoroughly enjoyed being able to share and interact with melanoma news and stories on social media outlets, and the experience gave me another perspective on how MRA is run.

6.  The planning behind it all:

MRA was my first exposure to the medical non-profit world, and, prior to coming here, I did not realize the amount of planning and brain-power required to run such an organization.  But, I was fortunate to sit in on a scientific planning meeting where the Science Team planned the types of awards they anticipated funding next year and mapped the progress and outlook of MRA-funded research. It was fascinating hearing the points and counterpoints to different perspectives.  This four-hour meeting was where I learned the most about how a non-profit funds research and assembles a scientific strategy.

7.  Meetings of the mind:

Throughout the course of the summer, I attended a variety of different seminars in person and online.  They all taught me something different about science, policy, and research, but the biggest take-away from these seminars was seeing first-hand the dedication of people involved in medical research, patient advocacy, and philanthropic foundations.  It was inspiring listening to doctors describe the importance of their research from the perspective of their patients, and it was eye-opening to meet people from different organizations dedicated to solve devastating diseases.

cab graphic8.  Hailing a cab in DC:

I had to include this!  No, sticking my arm out across the street did not directly teach me about the inner workings of MRA or the importance of medical research.  But, after my first day at work it did seem to give me a perspective on the real world.  I grew up outside D.C., but have never experienced this quintessential bucket list item, and successfully hailing a cab put a stamp on my first full work day in the city.  It also allowed me to introspect about the exciting work I was involved in with MRA, and I realized the benefits of working in a city like D.C.

It is certainly a unique experience driving by Capitol Hill and thinking about how the polices created there impact critical issues like cancer research.

About the Author: 

I’m Annie Cross, a rising sophomore Chemistry major at UNC Chapel Hill.  My interest in medicine, and corresponding family history of skin cancer, prompted my interest in MRA this summer.  Before this summer, I had seen the clinical side of medicine with several doctors and nurses in the family, but had not been exposed to the other, more administrative side of the field.  But after a summer at MRA, I am fascinated both by the public health field and biology in general.  I look forward to applying some of the cancer research I have learned to more biology-focused courses in the future, and am excited for a possible career in the medical or public health fields.

A Word About May


We just wanted to take a minute and give some long-overdue thanks to the fabulous corporate allies who helped us run a successful Melanoma Awareness Month back in May!  Through online and in-store efforts, the allies helped raise funds for MRA’s scientific research programs and also increased awareness of melanoma prevention and safe sun behaviors.  The number of 2013 alliances is a new record for MRA, which has doubled its number of May partners in the three years since launching its May initiative.

We are especially grateful to Claire’s and Sports Authority, whose consumer choice donation campaigns during the month of May helped generate nearly $500,000 for MRA’s cutting-edge melanoma research programs.  Claire’s asked customers to donate $1 to MRA while checking out and promoted the alliance with in-store signage and social media messaging on MRA and sun safety.  Sports Authority encouraged its customers to donate to MRA by rounding up each purchase to the next dollar.  Store signage, print and electronic brochures, as well as internal and social media communications bolstered the campaign’s impact. Overall, these two partners helped MRA spread its message of sun safety and melanoma awareness to more than 10 million people throughout the month.

Several other allies donated a percentage of sales from a specific sun safe item or line of items to MRA.  Many of our allies also engaged their social media fans by posting melanoma facts and skin cancer prevention tips throughout the month, encouraging their fans and customers to practice sun safety, and further broadening our reach.  Additionally, we launched several longer-term awareness and fundraising campaigns in May, including a comprehensive consumer-facing campaign with L’Oréal Paris and a mobile and social media-driven donation campaign in honor of the E Street Band’s Danny Federici.

Our committed and diverse set of 2013 May allies included: AT&T, American Idol Live! Tour 2013, AOL, Backstreets, Bergdorf Goodman, Brelli, Cabana Life, Chapstick, Claire’s, Columbia Records, COOLA, Eric Javits, First Aid Beauty, James Perse, L’Oréal Paris , Mott 50, Parasol, SkinCeuticals, SPF Love, and Sports Authority.

We’re already laying the groundwork for May 2014, so if you have any suggestions or your corporation would like to collaborate with MRA, please contact MRA Development Manager Jennifer Engel at (jengel at