I am an IT technician, have lived in New York for over a decade and in February 2011, I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma (OM) — choroidal melanoma to be exact. After receiving plaque treatment to stop the growth in my eye, I had four years with no problems. Last year, however, I learned my cancer had spread to my liver. I had four small tumors removed, but others appeared. At that point, my doctors recommended I try immunotherapy – it wiped out my pancreas and I am now a type 1 diabetic. Fighting OM has become a double whammy.
It is an understatement to say my life has completely changed since this began. I have gone from fatalist to survivalist and back. It has been a bumpy ride, but has been bearable with friends and family to help me.
The walk in New York City has become very important to me. It has become a way for me to fight back. More research focused on OM is desperately needed! OM does not have corporate sponsors. It does not have celebrity spokespeople. It only has us – those of us affected by this disease. That’s why it’s important to me. I don’t want someone else to have to go through what I’ve gone through. From monthly injections, MRI’s four times a year and now daily insulin injections — it all can be overwhelming. I want to see treatments that are safe and effective, and eventually a cure for OM. That’s why I will be walking on August 29 – to help fund a #CUREOM Unite! Career Development research grant. I hope you will join me, either in person or virtually.