CURE OM Steering Committee

The CURE OM Steering Committee is responsible for planning educational events and providing guidance and expertise for the CURE OM initiative. This collaborative international committee, composed of patients, caregivers, scientists, doctors, and MRF staff, is dedicated to improving the experience of people diagnosed with ocular melanoma. View the members of the CURE OM Scientific Steering Committee.


Sam Buirski

Sam is a uveal melanoma survivor, who was first treated in August 2011. She underwent enucleation surgery as a way to battle disease. Sam has a passion for grassroots fundraising, which she has passed on to her children. As a family, they actively pursue opportunities to raise money to fund OM research and awareness. Sam is dedicated to general eye health and spreading the word about the importance of dilated eye exams. 

Robert Cheek
London, United Kingdom

Robert became involved in OM advocacy and support after his wife, Saskia, was diagnosed in 2010, when there was very little to help patients and their families. Robert is also a Family Representative of the UK's main patient-centered advocacy organization, Ocumel UK. One of his roles in the Steering Committee is to promote links and collaborations between the US and the UK. 

Anne Marie Montijo, MSW
New York

Anne Marie is an ocular melanoma survivor who has been part of the CURE OM Steering Committee since its inception in 2011. She's been an active leader and fundraiser in the OM community since her diagnosis in 2006. After her diagnosis, Anne Marie created a support network in the New York tri-state area, comprised of survivors and family members, which meets for luncheons at least twice each year.

Kimberly Roy

In April 2016, on the week of his seventeenth birthday, Kim's son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. She is committed to doing whatever she can to help in the efforts to find a cure. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four sons. 

Chrisi Santana
North Carolina

Chrisi is an ocular melanoma survivor who was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2014. Raising awareness of this rare eye cancer is very important to her, as is helping to provide others with support and education. She has been serving on the CURE OM Steering Committee since 2015. Read Chrisi's blog

Mark Weinzierl
Board of Directors, Melanoma Research Foundation 

Mark is an ocular melanoma survivor. He was treated for a primary tumor in July 2007. He continues to have regular follow-ups and, to day, there is no evidence of spread of the disease. Mark is the founder and chairman of Anelto, a company specializing in remote telehealth and mobile emergency response devices; and founder and chairman of Zackat, Inc., a technology investment firm. He has served on the steering committee since 2011. 

Sara M. Selig, MD
CURE OM Director, Melanoma Research Foundation

Sara's husband was diagnosed with a primary ocular melanoma in 2006 at the age of 34 and with metastatic disease in 2007. He lost his battle to the disease in 2012. Dr. Selig also sits on the CURE OM Scientific Steering Committee.

Lauren Johnston
Program Officer, Rare Melanoma Subtypes, Melanoma Research Foundation

Lauren came to the MRF in 2015 after her friend was diagnosed with a recurrence of OM the previous year. She has become a strong OM patient advocate and support for both patients and caregivers.

In Memoriam: Esther Damaser, PhD

Dr. Esther Damaser was a 37-year survivor of ocular melanoma, strong advocate for the OM community and founding member of the CURE OM Steering Committee until her passing in November 2017.

A founding member of the CURE OM Steering Committee, Esther was diagnosed in 1980 with uveal melanoma. The cancer was treated, but in 2002 it metastasized to the liver and a new Stage IV diagnosis was given. Fourteen years later, Esther still fights metastatic disease with a multitude of treatments that have stabilized the melanoma. Recently, the melanoma has shown signs of growth, leading Esther to spend more time researching treatment options. Esther is passionate about promoting research and education in ocular melanoma. Read Esther’s story.