News & Press

In Memory of Jenna Bockmiller

Over the weekend the melanoma community lost a true fighter.  Jenna Bockmiller of California died at the age of 20, after a 6-year battle with melanoma.

Her tenacious fight against this disease inspired many in the patient community and each of us at the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF).  For those of us working to support melanoma research, and in particular, advance the objectives of the MRF Breakthrough Consortium, Jenna’s journey through several groundbreaking clinical trials highlights not only the need, but the great urgency in conducting these trials.  We saw great promise and hope when Jenna’s enrollment in a single agent trial shrank her tumors over days and weeks, giving her and her family relief and comfort.  But Jenna’s tumors returned after a nine-month respite, highlighting the key challenges the research community faces.  How do we get these results to last so that the lives of those living with melanoma are extended and improved?

Last November, Jenna lent her voice at a press briefing to introduce reporters to the newly-formed MRF Breakthrough Consortium.  Jenna spoke eloquently about her struggle to find options for treatment and got to the heart of what the research community and those who support them need to understand – patients need better answers and they need them now. 

The loss of Jenna is felt deeply by everyone who knew her.  She was fortunate to have loving and fiercely dedicated parents who advocated for their daughter, researching every option – leaving no stone unturned.  Jenna’s survival over the years demonstrates how critical good support is and we know that her parents are amazing and courageous models of how it’s done. 

We’re honored that Jenna’s parents designated the MRF for memorial donations in her memory.  While we wish that answers could have come sooner, Lauren and Doug Bockmiller can be confident that, at the MRF, we will keep Jenna in our hearts and minds as we work towards a day when people with melanoma have better treatments for this disease.