BENEFITING: OCULAR MELANOMA FOUNDATION
On Sept. 5th 2014, just 2 months before her 60th birthday, our family lost my mother, Kathy (“Kate”) Balizet to Ocular Melanoma. Ocular Melanoma (“OM”) is a rare cancer of the eye diagnosed in approximately 2,000 adults a year in the United States which equates to about 5 - 6 cases per million people per year. Kate was diagnosed 6 years ago, she underwent radiation treatment to reduce the size of the tumor, and had regular checkups in Boston. In August of this year, we received the news that the cancer had spread to her liver. If OM spreads beyond the eye, 80-90% of the time, the liver is the first site of this metastatic disease, which affects 50% of patients with OM. In general, prognosis is poor after an ocular tumor has metastasized. While there are options to treat the primary tumor in the eye, currently there are no approved treatments once OM has spread. Because of the aggressive nature of this extremely rare cancer, and the lack of treatment options available, Kate lost her battle one month later. As she did with everything in life, she faced this challenge with courage, strength, dignity and grace and gave us all a life lesson we will never forget. Her infectious laugh, quick witted personality, and love for her family and friends will be remembered by all who knew and loved her. It is our hope that with increased awareness and with your donations we can help fund research that is needed urgently to improve patient outcomes for this rare and incurable disease, sparing any others from going through the heartbreak that our family is going through. Please help us honor an amazing mother, wife, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend who means so much to so many by donating to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation in her name. Thank you! Please feel free to share this page with others who may be interested in helping out the OMF.
More information about the Ocular Melanoma Foundation:
OMF was established in 2003 by Dr. Robert Allen, a Harvard-trained eye surgeon. Ironically, though he was Chairman of Ophthalmology at the Medical College of Virginia, he discovered an eye tumor in his own eye. In confronting a rare disease such as OM, he was struck by the lack of current treatment information available and the limited research funding directed at this aggressive cancer. "Dr. Bob" succumbed to the disease due to liver complications on March 24, 2005. Now in its eleventh year, OMF’s mission remains the same: to accelerate and enhance scientific research, advocacy, and awareness of ocular melanoma and to provide education and support to patients, their families, and healthcare professionals.