President’s Letter | July 2021

Presidents Update Front the desk of Samantha Guild

From the Desk of Samantha Guild

I was struck several times this month with the idea that the fight against melanoma is being waged by so many people and on so many levels. Everyone can help in some way—and here at AIM, we are so appreciative of our growing community and all who want to help.

You’ll read this month about Madeleine Lepley, a rising senior in high school who has an interest in melanoma because her grandfather is a patient. Even at her young age, she’s already begun to wade into the melanoma research world by writing a research paper that assesses the factors that affect the psychological well-being of skin cancer patients. You can read more about Madeleine The Psychological Well-Being of Skin Cancer Patients, and you can read her research paper, too.

Hedva Gonen, a melanoma survivor, lives in Israel and is one of AIM’s international advocates—a group we call Melanoma International Patient Advocacy Coalition, or MIPAC for short. After her melanoma experience, Hedva chose to serve her country through a skin cancer non-profit she founded—to give them the information and support she needed but couldn’t find while she battled the disease. Through her partnership with AIM, she and her foundation have access to AIM’s website, educational materials, and other resources, translated and acculturated for use in Israel, which allows her to serve her community in a much more robust way.

Chad Freitas is not a melanoma survivor. He doesn’t have a family member with the disease. But he spends his time on the water and in the sun, and he wanted to do good, so he selected AIM as a partner for the Skiff Sailing Foundation. Our logo graces the sails and hulls of some of the world’s most beautiful and powerful boats and reminds all of those on land and on the water watching national sailing competitions to protect their skin.

Dr. Kim Margolin is an extremely busy and successful oncologist and researcher, currently working at Saint John’s Cancer Center, as well as a Professor Emeritus at City of Hope National Medical Center. She is certainly involved in the battle against melanoma through her work, but she gives even more by working with AIM to write the In Plain English series for each newsletter. Melanoma survivors and caregivers have told us so many times that they want to stay up to date on news and treatment discoveries, but the information is often so complicated it’s hard to understand. Kim’s series examines a specific melanoma news item or treatment and explains it in language fit for non-researchers.

Our Steps Against Melanoma walk coordinators are a fantastic group of people who help raise funds and awareness through local walks. They are motivators, fundraisers, cheerleaders, organizers and directors—all at once!

And of course, there is the large and generous community of donors to AIM, whose gifts directly fund melanoma research through our International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium and other projects. We can’t repeat it enough times: Melanoma research is so critical to ending this disease, and everyone can help by donating. Large gifts, small gifts, and everything in between—each donation gets us incrementally closer to the goal of the cure.

Everyone can help in some way—and so many people are helping. We’re in this battle together. Thank you to everyone I’ve mentioned here and to the entire AIM community. We are grateful for your support. Together, we will end melanoma.

Sam Guild
AIM at Melanoma Foundation