About Melanoma » Melanoma Stories
Sonja Plesset is Vice President for Advancement at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit management, development, and higher education. At Whitehead Institute, she works closely with faculty and fellows to develop philanthropic relationships with individual, foundation, and corporate donors.Read more.
As a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston, Leonard Zon says, “I certainly never expected I would end up working with fish.” Dr. Zon studies a unique organism: the zebrafish. This one and a half inch fish happens to have a gene set that is very similar to the human gene set. Zon is a pioneer in the zebrafish field and chose to model human diseases using this fish because, “the zebrafish embryo is completely clear, providing a ‘real time’ view of all organs and systems as they develop.” With 3,000 tanks in his lab, he has one of the largest aquaria in the world.Read more.
"In 2007, I was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma despite being under the care of a top dermatologist. For several years I had been told the bleeding spot on the bottom of my foot was a wart. After several skin grafts and a difficult physical and emotional recovery, I was horrified to discover the prognosis for advanced stage melanoma had not improved over the past 40 years.Read more.
On May 4, 2012, I took my nine-year-old daughter Alyssa to the dermatologist for a second time. In 2009 they had removed a Spitz nevus from her thigh area. At the time we were told that a Spitz nevus is not harmful, but since they can turn cancerous and since experts have a difficult time differentiating them from melanoma, they are typically removed. This time, we were there for a couple of spots that had grown since she started growth hormones the previous March since she is also short stature. Many spots were checked and okayed, but one of the spots “looked suspicious,” and so they did a biopsy. It was a small red, raised area on her left forearm. We were told at the time that skin cancer doesn’t happen in kids under 13. Alyssa was 9, so it was nothing to really worry about. A few weeks later, the dermatologist called to say it was melanoma.Read more.