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Safe Sun Stories: Debra Black’s Fight Against Melanoma

5 1 2012

May is Melanoma Awareness month and we’re really proud to partner with the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) to support Melanoma research. All month long we’re supporting the MRA through a host of exciting initiatives in-store, on our blog, and through social platforms like TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Today, Debra Black shares her personal story and why she founded The Melanoma Research Alliance

Catherine Malandrino

In 2007, I was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma despite being under the care of a top dermatologist. I had seen my dermatologist often as a precaution because I had an earlier diagnosis of “in situ” melanoma. For several years, I had been told the bleeding spot on the bottom of my foot was a wart. They were wrong! 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 in over 40 years.

Melanoma incidence is rising – it is the fastest-growing cancer especially in young women 20-30. Once diagnosed with melanoma people remain at risk for additional melanoma. And the prognosis for those with advanced stage disease is often not good. If melanoma isn’t caught early, it can be fatal – one person dies from melanoma every hour in the United States. I have been one of the lucky ones – but too many others are not so fortunate. My husband, Leon, and I couldn’t believe the statistics, so we decided to take action, and founded the Melanoma Research Alliance.

The Melanoma Research Alliance was born with the help of our visionary friend Mike Milken and incubated by the Milken Institute. Our goal is to accelerate the science to transform outcomes for this often devastating disease. We believe that venture philanthropy, coupled with a global and strategic scientific agenda, can spur innovative research needed to develop and improve the outcome for patients with melanoma, as well as those at risk.

Every day I feel blessed to have discovered my misdiagnosed melanoma before it spread to other parts of my body, although there is always risk with melanoma. MRA is committed to transforming the field of melanoma research toward the time when no family has to worry about this deadly skin cancer. At MRA, we are dedicated to working with all stakeholders to eliminate suffering and death from melanoma. We thank our many committed friends, allies, and partners for their support and are proud to say 100 percent of every dollar publicly raised by MRA goes directly to fund research. We hope you will join us.

Reduce Your Risk. Protect Yourself. Take Action.

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10% Beauty Products MRA, 212 872 8819

For the month of May, we will donate 10% of the sales of the following products to the Melanoma Research Alliance.

La Mer SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid
Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30+ Sun Defense
Orlane Extreme Anti-Wrinkle Care SPF 30
Le Metier de Beaute Replenishing Daily Solution SPF 30
Laura Mercier Daily Face Shield SPF 40
Lancome Benefait UV SPF 50+ Super Fluid Facial Sunscreen
Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50 PA+++

For more Safe Sun tips and a chance to win our favorite Safe Sun products, follow along on FacebookPolyvoreTwitter, and Pinterest.

Read our Safe Sun Stories Enter our contests Access our Safe Sun tips #BGSafeSun on Twitter Join our Safe Sun Chats Safe Sun with MRA Shop our MRA Essentials Image Map

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Debra Black

Debra Black is Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Melanoma Research Alliance. As a melanoma survivor, she learned first-hand that new insights about cancer have not translated into significant clinical benefits for most patients with advanced melanoma, one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. In 2007, Ms. Black and her husband, Leon, decided to accelerate progress toward a cure and founded the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), a part of the Milken Institute. Ms. Black is a Broadway Producer and presently serves on the boards of Lincoln Center Theater and Rockefeller University. She resides in Manhattan.