News & Press

Guest Post: Connie’s Story

Guest blogger Connie Popp shares her experience as an ocular melanoma caregiver, advocate and participant in Miles for Melanoma in support of the CURE OM Unite! campaign.

My name is Connie Popp. On May 8, 2015, my husband Ted passed away after a 5 year battle with metastatic ocular melanoma (OM). Ted was diagnosed in June 2010 and his eye was successfully treated within a week. Genetic testing indicated the tumor would metastasize and in June 2011, tumors showed up in Ted's liver. We did our research and with the help of Dr. Sato and his team at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Ted underwent every available treatment. Ted lived 4 years with metastasis, but eventually died from his disease because there is still no cure. 
 
I recently joined the CURE OM teams at the Miles for Melanoma 5k events in Philadelphia and San Antonio. Our goal was to raise funds for the #CUREOM Unite! research grant. OM research is very important to my family, and we welcomed the opportunity to unite with others who share our passion. 
 
Many of Ted’s patient friends, along with Dr. Sato’s team, participated in the Philadelphia event. During Ted's treatments, the medical team at Thomas Jefferson and the OM patients we met there became very special to us. Together we worked to fight this disease and it was an honor to join forces with them again. My daughter Stephanie lives in Philadelphia and she walked with me. It was a very special day with a very special group of friends.
 
When another OM patient suggested forming a team in San Antonio, I reached out to Ted's friends and relatives in Texas to see if they would join me. I was overwhelmed by the response–26 friends and family members signed up! Those who weren’t able to walk sat in the stands and cheered us on. We even wore special memorial t-shirts. This time, my son Tres was able to walk with me since he lives in Austin.
 
The CURE OM teams were the top fundraisers at both events, raising over $20,000 for the #CUREOM Unite! campaign. Every donation, big or small, really does make a difference. It is my hope that the money we raised will take us one step closer to new treatments. More research is desperately needed to improve patient outcomes, so I hope you will join me, my family and our friends in support of #CUREOM Unite!
 
Written by OM advocate, Connie Popp