A Letter From Our Vice President | February 2021

From the Desk of Alicia Rowell, Vice President

Hope, love, cure. That’s our theme this February, in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Read on! We have a lot to share this month.

We’ve chosen this month to launch a campaign near and dear to our hearts: The Supporter’s Guild. This group is named after Charlie Guild, who died in 2003, from Stage IV melanoma. What is both excruciating and exciting is that if Charlie were diagnosed today—with all of the advancements in treatment we’ve seen in the last ten years—she might very well have lived long past the nine months that she survived. These advances were exactly what she hoped for when she asked her mother, Valerie Guild, to set up the foundation that would become AIM.

The Supporter’s Guild is our monthly giving program that is a win-win for donors and AIM. For donors, monthly giving means you are committed to our mission and you want to support research for the cure. It allows you to spread an annual gift out over the year, which can make giving more economically manageable: You choose how much to give and for how long, and you can change the amount or cancel at any time.

For AIM, The Supporter’s Guild creates a stable source of funding for our initiatives, especially the International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium. To put it simply, the more stable funding we have, the more tissue collection and research we can fund, and the greater the impact on melanoma patients and their families.

We already have a solid group of members in The Supporter’s Guild, and we hope that this February will spur a wave of new members. Please consider joining us.

We’ve also launched a new design in our Black Ribbon Boutique, special for the month of February. The slogan for the new design is HOPE, LOVE, CURE. Check out this new design and the other merchandise available in the Boutique.

One last launch: We’ve added a new feature to our website called the Gratitude Wall.  Your first thought might be, If I or someone I love has melanoma, why should I be grateful? But many studies have documented the social, physical, and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude. Even during difficult times, such as coping with melanoma, practicing gratitude can reduce anxiety and depression, boost feelings of optimism and joy, and help us sleep better—among many other benefits. Our new webpage allows you to add electronic “sticky notes” with messages of gratitude to our online Wall. What are you grateful for?

Two stories are included this month, and we hope you’ll enjoy reading both of them. The first story is about Melanie Brannan, an artist in Dallas who has a show of her beautiful paintings coming up in March and April. But it’s not your average show: All 20+ paintings were created in honor of and as a tribute to her best friend, who is currently hospitalized with melanoma. And she has made the generous decision to give 50% of the proceeds of the sale of each painting to AIM at Melanoma. Thank you, Melanie.

The second story is about melanoma survivor, Mark Lewis, who at 62 years old has found love and gotten married, all while fighting melanoma. He’s also joined AIM’s Peer Connect program. He’d had the benefit of talking to someone who’d undergone lymph node removal before he did, and it helped him feel less anxiety. He wants to provide the same kind of support to others. Thank you, Mark.

AIM continues to spread hope, send love, and fund research for the cure this month, and beyond.

Alicia Rowell
Vice President
AIM at Melanoma Foundation