MRF Blog

Resolving to Fight Melanoma: Loree's Year-End Gift of Research

December 14, 2016 | Categories: Patient Stories

I want to give generously to working toward an end to malignant melanoma because, I believe, getting a handle on this most rapidly mutating form of cancer is going to unlock the door to early control of all other cancers.

-       Loree Draeger

Loree Draeger and her husband, Richard, lived an incredibly healthy lifestyle in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. “Dick” was an avid rower, had medaled in the 1960 Olympics and returned, in retirement, to international competitive rowing. He was an extreme athlete and his conditioning and competitive spirit is likely what helped him through the trials to come. In October 2013, a tumor coiled around his cervical spinal cord was imaged. It was partially resected and came back as malignant melanoma.

His diagnosis came at a promising time for treatments, so Loree, as a family nurse practitioner, began researching available and encouraging treatments as soon as Dick’s care needs would permit. Approximately two months after his initial surgery, a good friend advised them to get involved with an online community, which is how they found the Melanoma Patients’ Information Page (MPIP) and the MRF. These online pages equipped Loree and Dick with the support, information and questions they needed to make sure they were getting the best treatment possible. They had a wonderful care team through Kaiser in collaboration with UCSF and were able to hold off the progression of his tumor for two and a half years before Dick ultimately lost his battle.

Loree and her husband were deeply touched by how many people on MPIP were young adults with families. They both felt blessed to be able to retire, travel and see their sons grow up, marry and have grandchildren before melanoma came into their lives.

These interactions are what ultimately motivated Loree to stay involved with the MRF even after Dick’s passing. Though she, like all people touched by cancer, would love to find a cure, what Loree prefers is to prevent cancer from ever occurring. She strongly believes that the MRF is the go-to organization if you are diagnosed with melanoma which is why she is proud to be a philanthropic supporter.

Loree recently pledged to fund a future Career Development Award through the MRF to further research into melanoma so that no one has to experience the same loss that she has. She believes that melanoma advocates across the United States have the power to stop this disease in its tracks and wants you to join her.

Please go to donate.melanoma.org to make your life-changing year-end gift today. Thank you for your part in the fight and for any additional help you can offer.

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