How Can I Help?
It’s the most common question we get, by far. And we get it in January a lot, perhaps because people are fulfilling their new year’s resolutions. So we decided to answer the question in depth. Read on for exactly how you can help!
The primary opportunity for volunteering with AIM is at one of our Steps Against Melanoma walks. As of this writing, we have 17 confirmed walks, and several more in the planning stages. The confirmed walk locations are on our website and span the United States.
If you live near one of these walk locations, the walk coordinators likely need help. They’ll need pre-walk help or day-of help—or both.
What’s needed at each walk is decided by the coordinator, but generally pre-walk help will be tasks such as looking for sponsors and motivating people and teams to register. The more people at a walk, the more people who are educated about melanoma and/or supported in their battle. Asking every dermatology and melanoma oncology office in the area to participate is one example of how you might be able to help.
Day-of help consists of tasks such as set up and clean up. Other tasks needed may be staffing registration or water table.
If you don’t live near one of our walk locations, please consider setting up a walk in your area. We give you a handbook that lays out the process in a clear, step-by-step format, and we mail you many of the items needed for your walk.
If you are interested in volunteering at or hosting a walk, please contact Cindy LeBlanc, National Director of Walks & Events for AIM.
AIM also hosts approximately 10 Living with Melanoma symposiums across the country at major cancer centers each year. These informative sessions are generally staffed by AIM and the host cancer center, but we often need a volunteer or two at each event. Our 2020 symposiums are listed on our website as they are confirmed, and if one of them is near you and you’d be interested in volunteering, please contact Brenda Busby, AIM’s Director of Community Engagement.
Another way to volunteer is to join our Peer Connect program. Peer Connect matches someone who has more experience with melanoma with someone newly diagnosed. These relationships offer support, friendship, and conversation. Our program includes patients of all stages and all ages. Please contact Brenda Busby if you’re interested in hearing more about Peer Connect.
AIM is the leader in the quest to ban indoor tanning for those under 18 years of age and also works with in-state volunteers and organizations on sun safety education and sunscreen legislation. The type of help needed depends on what is happening in the state and on what the volunteer is interested in.
When there is legislation expected or pending in a state, we’ll make a call for volunteers. Indeed, we are currently looking for volunteers to help with soon-to-be proposed legislation to ban indoor tanning for those under 18 in Colorado.
If your state has no legislation expected or pending and you want to push for it, we’d like your help in that regard, too. The best combination to push a legislator to action is both citizens of the state (like you) and a nationwide leader (like AIM)—together, this combination can make a compelling case.
Other legislation that we’ve helped promote includes the right to put on and wear sunscreen at school and mandates for sun safety education. The volunteering needed can range from letter writing to meeting with the legislator to speaking to your local legislators to PR to gathering other interested citizens.
If you’re interested in helping with legislative efforts in your state, please contact Samantha Guild, AIM’s Executive Director.
AmazonSmile is an easy way to support AIM. Go to AmazonSmile and select AIM at Melanoma as your designated charity. Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of every item you buy to AIM. It’s all the same merchandise as Amazon.com; it’s just an easy way to give on items you would purchase anyway. And it may not sound like a lot, but if you, your friends, and your family all support AIM through AmazonSmile, it adds up.
The most critical need AIM has is fundraising for research to find the cure. Rather than following the traditional foundation model of granting individual researchers dollars for their investigations, AIM creates, funds, and manages multiple global-scale research initiatives. The most important project for us at this moment is the International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium (IMTBC).
Please read the press release for the opening of the fourth branch of the IMTBC at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University. There are at least two more branches opening, both in Australia, soon, and there is interest in the research community for other U.S. locations.
Our Steps Against Melanoma Walks offer the easiest way to raise funds for research. Our registration system takes care of all the details for you, making it easy to send emails to friends and family explaining that you are walking and why, and asking if they will sponsor you. Even if a walk is not located in your area, our system works so that you can register as a remote walker no matter where you live.
One of the most fantastic fundraising efforts we’ve seen in the past few years is birthday or wedding fundraisers through Facebook. Participants announce their fundraiser and ask their friends and family to donate to AIM instead of giving gifts. Facebook takes in the funds and transfers them to AIM. If you’re interested, check out how easy it is here.
Fundraising for AIM’s research can be done in ANY WAY a person wants to do it! You can throw a dinner party, plan a golf tournament, host a yoga event, or create an item to sell. For example, some people put items to sell on eBay and send proceeds to AIM! Our DIY Fundraising Handbook gives you all the information you need to be creative and raise funds for melanoma research.
We’ve listed donating last, but it is certainly not least important. Giving, like fundraising, is incredibly important, because your gift funds lifesaving research.
Will you consider a monthly gift to AIM? Our website makes it easy to set up this type of giving, called a recurring donation. Choose any amount—$10, $25, $50—to give each month, and know your recurring gift is set. And don’t worry, we ask you each year if you want to continue, so there’s no danger that you give without intending to.
Register for a Steps Against Melanoma Walk and make the first gift to support your walk. Then send emails to friends and family (see above) asking them to match your amount.
Make a gift to AIM and then ask your company and your spouse’s company if they match donations. You may be surprised how many companies do.
You can donate online or mail us a check. You can designate it to our general fund or to a specific research initiative. You can give in honor of someone’s fight or give in memory of someone who passed away. You can give anonymously or through a donor-advised fund. You can give a lot or a modest amount. But please, just give. Help us defeat this disease.
If you have any questions about giving to AIM, please contact Alicia Rowell, our Vice President.
If you have an idea for a way to get involved that you don’t see in this list, email us! We’d love to hear from you.
Looking forward to your help in 2020!