President’s Letter | March 2021

From the Desk of Samantha Guild

As you read this post, the U.S. and a lot of the world is approaching one year since we shut down—in varying ways, for varying lengths of time, and at varying levels—in order to stem the spread of COVID-19.

For those of us here in California, that date was March 19, a Thursday. Since that day, my children have been home in an all-video school setting, seeing neither their teacher nor their classmates in person in nearly one year. I often think about how this time will affect them later in their lives, how they will remember it.

During this unusual year, they also lived through their grandmother’s diagnosis of cancer, her illness, and her death. I also think about how that diagnosis, loss, and the limited grieving process they experienced affected them and will continue to affect them.

Cancer affects everyone in a family differently, and children and teens have special needs when it comes to dealing with a family member’s diagnosis. We hope you will join us on Wednesday, March 10, 7 pm EST, for our latest presentation of Beyond the Clinic: How to Help Children and Teens When a Family Member has Cancer, to hear about how to help children understand and deal with a parent or close family member’s cancer diagnosis.

In addition to our regular host, Raymond Liu, MD, we welcome special guest Paula K. Rauch, MD. Dr. Rauch is the Founding Director of the Marjorie E. Korff Parenting at a Challenging Time (PACT) program. Dr. Rauch is a consultation child psychiatrist; she specializes in the impact of medical illness on families and on the emotional health and well-being of children. Dr. Rauch has practiced at the Massachusetts General Hospital since 1982 and is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Register for this free live webinar.

Our From the Clinic to the Living Room series continues this month with AIM’s Ask an Expert, Melissa Wilson, giving a primer on all the types of scans melanoma patients might receive in the course of their treatment. Know Your Scans is a free, Facebook Live event on Wednesday, March 24, at 7 pm EST. No registration is necessary; just go on AIM at Melanoma’s Facebook page at the scheduled time.

The latest installment in our In Plain English series, written by Kim Margolin, MD. Dr. Margolin’s articles help explain important melanoma information and news in language we can all understand. Her articles have been popular with you, our readers, including last month’s special edition of In Plain English—COVID-19, the vaccines, and melanoma: What do melanoma patients and their families need to know? This month’s article is about acral lentiginous melanoma—commonly referred to as just acral melanoma. Dr. Margolin’s article explains how this rare subtype is different in several ways from common cutaneous melanoma.

Coincidentally, this month’s Survivor Story is about a patient with acral melanoma, specifically melanoma of the nail matrix. Read about Lisa, who noticed that a dark band of color on her big toenail had increased in size over time, and learn about the surgical treatment she underwent for this type of melanoma.

Our Donor Spotlight this month is about Jeff Berg, a fellow Californian and a Stage IV melanoma survivor, who has given AIM a wonderful gift: He’s named AIM as a beneficiary for a gift upon his passing. Read more about Jeff, his melanoma story, and his generosity here.

Our Melanoma by the State series continues with Texas in the starring role. While the melanoma incidence rate is increasing in Texas, there are also many efforts in place to counteract that rise and to care for those who are diagnosed. From volunteer efforts to cancer center programs and everything in between, there is a lot of good work happening in Texas on the melanoma front.

Lastly, on a somber note, I have an update on a story we told you last month. Melanie Brannan is an artist who has painted an entire show for her friend Maryann Wegloski, a patient from Texas who has melanoma. The show opened on March 1, at the Charles W. Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Dallas. Because of the pandemic, the entire show is available for viewing and purchase on www.urbanartistmarket.com and all proceeds benefit AIM at Melanoma. Please take a look at Melanie’s beautiful tributes to her friend. Her son, Max, spoke to Alicia Rowell, our Vice President, a few days ago and let us know that Maryann entered hospice last week. They discussed the funds going to research and that Maryann wanted that. “She was thankful for the treatment she was able to receive, even if it ultimately didn’t go as hoped. It gave her a bit more time with family and friends,” he said.

Our next newsletter will be in May, which is Melanoma Awareness Month. I look forward to greeting you again then.

Sam Guild
President
AIM at Melanoma Foundation

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