Charities often spring up from a heartfelt mission because of a life changing event. In the case of MIF, it was from my experience with melanoma that shook me to my soul. I faced my own mortality at 32, pregnant with my son and racing after my 2 year old. I felt very alone and knew that I had to find the strength to get through the ordeal because I couldn’t leave my children behind. I went on a research mission and talked a lot with my doctor, who fortunately was one of the best! He and I wrote a book together and patients came to us for guidance. And so was born the idea of an organization to help navigate patients with melanoma. The patient is the center to all of MIF’s activities and the minute we are pulled to a project that seems interesting we ask: how would that impact the melanoma patient or caregiver? We help with letters and testimony for tanning legislation and promote products that will keep kids safe from overexposure. We do a major annual free screening and promote early detection in our communications, but these activities are not our focus.
There is so much to learn when you are diagnosed with melanoma in order to get the best treatment. We provide the scientifically backed facts and reassurance when someone is first diagnosed or when they have a recurrence. We educate them fully so they can have an intelligent conversation with their doctor about treatment choices. We help patients individually find the right clinical trial or treatment with full knowledge of how the therapy may affect their lives and hopefully extend their longevity. Ultimately, we help research move ahead by counseling patients to find the right clinical trials and remove the barriers for travel to these trials with scholarship funding if needed.
When melanoma hits you or your loved one, it is often like a ton of bricks out of nowhere. The patient normally has felt perfectly healthy only to learn his/her life may be threatened. It is a heavy burden to find the best treatment when you are overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. And that’s when we will be there to help you and your loved ones make a plan to get through a time you will never forget. Never take this path alone!