Melanoma Awareness Month: In Case You Missed It

By Renee Orcione, MRA Digital Engagement & Communications Manager | 13 June 2023 | Allies & Partnerships, Events, Melanoma Stories, News, Science

blog template2

Last month, the entire melanoma community came together to recognize Melanoma Awareness Month, hear from leaders in the field, connect with other advocates, and spread awareness of melanoma and the importance of prevention and early detection. Inspired by the power of community and wanting to give those impacted by melanoma as many opportunities to connect as possible, the Melanoma Research Alliance planned several opportunities to engage throughout the month. 

In case you missed it, we have recapped MRA's Melanoma Awareness Month programming below. 


MRA Melanoma Awareness Month Programming 

Thriving Together: Melanoma Research = More Tomorrows

Thanks to a generous donor, all gifts made to MRA during Melanoma Awareness Month were doubled. With the support of our incredible community of advocates and donors, we raised over $238,000 for melanoma research. As always, 100% of the funds raised will go directly towards research. Although gifts are no longer being match, you can still help us reach our goal of $300,000 by making a gift. 


Step Up for Melanoma: Year 3

The melanoma community has always stepped up for MRA, and we are so grateful! This year, as part of our third annual Step Up for Melanoma Challenge, the community showed up in a big way with record-level participation! This year, we reached our goal and raised over $100,000 for MRA’s lifesaving melanoma research program! We were inspired every day by the spirit of the Step Up community: from seeing participants get their daily steps in, share why melanoma research means so much to them, and forge new friendships along the way. 


MRA Partners with Refinery29

MRA kicked off a partnership with Refinery29 and other sun safety advocates to help spread awareness of skin cancer and the many ways you can protect your skin from harmful UV rays as part of their global Sun Blocked campaign!

Join the conversation by reading and sharing with your community:

 As part of the campaign, Refinery29 is also teaming up with the Skin Cancer Foundation to petition the FDA to finalize its proposed rule that bans minors from using sun beds. Visit to sign the petition!

SunBlocked LOGO3

May 1 – Save Our Skin Day and Melanoma Monday

MRA joined forces with our longtime sun safety partner La Roche-Posay and Schweiger Dermatology to offer free skin cancer screenings to thousands of New Yorkers on Melanoma Monday! While on site, MRA's President & Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Kauffman spoke on the importance of early detection and skin cancer screening. La Roche-Posay and Schweiger Dermatology officially broke the Guinness World Record for most skin cancer screenings in 8 hours! The previous record was 963 screenings and the Melanoma Monday event completed 1,988. Learn more about the event!

Thank You For Supporting the Melanoma Research Alliance

Melanoma Monday Virtual Town Hall with MRA’s Dr. Marc Hurlbert & Stephanie Kauffman

MRA’s CEO Dr. Marc Hurlbert and COO & President Stephanie Kauffman hosted a live virtual town hall on MRA’s Facebook where they connected with the community to share the latest about MRA, including information about who we are, our mission, and the important work we support. 

MRA Announced $6.3 Million in Grants to Advance Melanoma Prevention, Detection & Treatment

MRA announced its new $6.3 million commitment to fund melanoma research, supporting 24 scientists at leading academic and medical institutions across the US and Europe.

This year's newly funded awards focus on topics including:

  • Understanding how melanoma develops and progresses to advanced disease, and novel approaches to detection, diagnosis, and disease monitoring.
  • Developing innovative immunotherapy treatment approaches and strategies to overcome treatment resistance.
  • Advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches for predicting recurrence of early-stage melanomas.
  • Exploring novel targets for new treatment development.
  • Determining how melanoma metastasizes to various body tissues with a particular emphasis on the brain and central nervous system.
  • Studying rare melanoma subtypes including acral and uveal/ocular melanoma.

Learn more about the exciting slate of grants funded!

May 1 – May 5 – Ask the Expert: Melanoma Detection & Non-Invasive Imaging 

Dr. Alexander Witkowski of Oregon Health & Science University spent some time over on MRA’s online patient community the Melanoma > Exchange answering questions on all things melanoma detection and non-invasive imaging. 

Untitled 521 369 px

Join the Melanoma > Exchange and see the discussion!

May 3 – Melanoma Advocate Connection: Meet Leah Adams 

MRA’s Senior Director of Communications & Patient Engagement Cody Barnett was joined by melanoma advocate, survivor, and caregiverLeah Adams for an intimate conversation about Leah’s own experiences with melanoma, her best self-care and sun safety tips for the community, and more. 


May 18 – Melanoma Research Update with MRA’s Science Team 

MRA's Science TeamDrs. Joan Levy, Tanisha Jackson, and Rachel Fischer – connected with the melanoma community to provide some of the latest updates in melanoma research, share a bit about MRA’s exciting initiatives, and answer questions from the community. The team gave insights into clinical trial results testing mRNA vaccines in melanoma, the exciting future of TIL therapy, and MRA’s RARE melanoma registry.

May 23 – Melanoma Story Swap

MRA hosted a Melanoma Story Swap, a virtual interactive session where anyone touched by melanoma was invited to join, share their story, ask questions, and bask in the power and connection of the melanoma community. The event was hosted by MRA’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Joan Levy and Senior Director of Communications & Patient Engagement Cody Barnett, MPH.

Untitled design

May 26 – Don't Fry Day 

Each year, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designates the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and to encourage everyone to protect their skin as they head outdoors to kick off the summer season.  

 Thank You For Supporting the Melanoma Research Alliance

MRA’s Senior Director of Communications & Patient Engagement Cody Barnett joined the FOX6 team in Milwaukee to discuss the campaign and offer more insight into skin cancer and how we can prevent it.  

Learn more about Don't Fry Day! 

May 31– Melanoma Advocate Connection: Meet J.D. Durkin 

MRA’s Senior Director of Communications & Patient Engagement Cody Barnett connected with news personality J.D. Durkin, a melanoma survivor and advocate to discuss his melanoma journey, being diagnosed with cancer at 31 and the importance of early detection, sun safety tips for living life to the fullest after a melanoma diagnosis, and more. 


MRA in the News

The Melanoma Research Alliance, our staff, and the experts we work with were featured in the news throughout May: