MAC: A Valued Partner in the Fight Against Melanoma
What do you do after the melanoma diagnosis has settled in and you’ve done all you can to ensure the best health outcome for yourself? Or even worse, what do you do after you’ve lost a spouse or a child to melanoma? For the members of the Melanoma Action Coalition, the answer is clear. You take that fear or sorrow, and you mobilize. You help to raise awareness so others will be more conscious of sun safety. You raise dollars to ensure that the next person diagnosed with late stage melanoma has better treatment options. And, you go out and offer skin checks to ensure others catch their melanomas early enough so that a positive health outcome is essentially guaranteed.
Today in the United States there are over 100 non-profits focused on melanoma, and the vast majority of them work with revenues of less than $1 million. Most of them were founded based on a personal connection to melanoma, whether it was someone’s own diagnosis or the loss of a loved one to melanoma. Many of these organizations are volunteer-run, and led by individuals who have never worked in the non-profit field. So, while many of them share a passion for raising awareness and advancing treatments in the fight against melanoma, most are learning as they go along.
Having first connected at the Melanoma Research Alliance’s Annual Scientific Retreat, the Melanoma Action Coalition was established in 2014 by leaders of seven such community-based non-profits; non-profits that all came to be as a result of personal connections to melanoma. Just three years later, the Coalition has grown to include 29 different non-profits, including organizations like Mollie’s Fund focused on raising awareness through media campaigns and education; or the Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation focused on raising critical resources to advance treatment research; or Polka Dot Mama which is doing a little bit of everything, from skin check events to raising awareness of melanoma and funds for research. The list goes on and on. The full listing of MAC members can be found on their website here. While the coalition has grown, so has their impact, both in how they support one another, and in the impact they are having in raising melanoma awareness and advancing research.
The Melanoma Action Coalition, like many of its members, works without paid staff, but is truly able to get things done. Members pay dues of only $50 per year, and with that they become part of a community. The MAC puts out a regular e-news, News for about MAC members, that provides members with updates on efforts the coalition is undertaking, as well as spotlighting activities of its members. In addition, members convene to share best practices and support one another at meetings such as MRA’s Scientific Retreat, and their own events. In fact, this year, the Coalition is planning a meeting for Nov. 17th and 18th in Chicago, where they will be briefed on some of the highlights from the 2017 Society for Melanoma Research Conference in Brisbane.
The Melanoma Action Coalition is not only a critical resource for a broad range of non-profits mobilizing to combat melanoma, but a valued partner of the Melanoma Research Alliance. At MRA, our first focus is to accelerate powerful research, advance cures for all patients and prevent more melanomas. While the vast majority of our work is conducted through the funding of research, we rely on our community partners to help mobilize awareness of melanoma; to support further prevention efforts; and to partner with us in funding the best research possible. Toward that end, MAC has been an invaluable partner, and one with which MRA seeks to build an even stronger bond in the coming years.
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