A Cure In Sight ™ was the idea of a group of patients who saw others going without medical treatment because they could not afford the costs associated with doctor visits. Melody Kling, Megan Bekkedahl, Laura Duvall and Tania Herfurth started the organization in 2012 with a few eye cancer awareness products and our mascot pirate T-shirt. We further developed other designs, and soon we had a store opened with the first ocular melanoma awareness products and an awareness ribbon. With a rare cancer diagnosis, there is all too often a financial crisis. A Cure In Sight™ was formed to give back to the ocular melanoma community. To help those who have nowhere else to turn for financial help. To help those who cannot afford to fight their disease. To help those who cannot afford the drugs to save their life. To help those who cannot afford to get to a clinical trial to receive a hopeful treatment. To give a person hope of living a little longer – maybe living until there is a cure for ocular melanoma. We hope to allow someone to have “A Cure In Sight™” with the ability to afford to receive top quality care.
In 2014 Suzanne Lescure and Marla Avery joined the organization, and the first Swing For Sight golf tournament and fundraiser for ocular melanoma was held in Napa, CA. Each year physicians, patients, family members and friends gather to play golf, take a winery tour, or just visit for dinner to support curing ocular melanoma and supporting the University of California, San Francisco. We also developed our Cure Companions program to team up a veteran caregivers or patients with someone newly diagnosed.
After the untimely death of Tania, we added three new board members- Susan “Zsa Zsa” Stallings, Marlene Day, and Lori Caperton. These new additions to the board started new programs to further aid patients. Zsa Zsa developed the OMG – Ocular Melanoma Getaway vacation program to give patients with metastatic OM a vacation to make memories with their loved ones. Lori Caperton added the Lookin For A Cure 5k’s fundraiser to our event lineup.
Jack Odell joined the team in 2015 as Vice President and took ACIS to a new level. Jack’s interest in research added our research arm, and we are now funding ongoing research projects that are stalled, out of money, or need additional funding. Jack has fulfilled his Vice President role and has now taken on the job of Director of Special Projects.
In 2017 we lost Marla Avery to OM after a five-year battle with metastatic OM. We gained two new board members to start 2018 when Mike Robillard took over as Vice President and Stephanie Scanlon became our Communications Director.
2018 brings a new chapter to ACIS with our first Survivorship Patient Education Seminar in Orlando and Disney World. We hope to change the landscape of OM and offer hope and life skills while living with a cancer that can come back at any time.
Laurie (Lauren) Walters, PhD joined our board in 2019 after volunteering for ACIS for many years. Laurie brought her expertise in education and web development and a passion for data for research to our organization.
In 2020 ACIS, in conjunction with UCSF, launched the first self-reported ocular melanoma patient reported registry. The Insight Global Registry will help researchers find patterns and commonalities in the ocular melanoma population.