Every year, we’re busy coordinating our mobile screening program, writing for our digital and print publications, planning our Gala and much, much more. We work year-round to disseminate our lifesaving messaging and programs, but we are also always seeking to do better — to reach more people, make our information more accessible and find creative new ways to educate the public about skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment.
We’re proud of what we accomplished in 2023, and we’re certain we couldn’t have done it alone! Our incredible community of skin cancer warriors, physician members, corporate partners and generous donors continued to support us in countless ways, ensuring we could continue our work and remain committed to eradicating the world’s most common cancer.
Read on to learn more about everything we achieved together!
1,800+ Free Skin Cancer Screenings
Our 14th year of Destination Healthy Skin kicked off in early May, bringing free skin cancer screenings and educational materials to participants around the country before wrapping up in September. Over four months, 61 volunteer dermatologists donated their time to perform screenings everywhere from mountain resorts to balmy seaside towns. In addition to getting a screening, participants had the chance to learn about skin cancer warning signs, sign up to receive the Foundation’s newsletter and pick up sun protection samples from our program partners. Many participants expressed their gratitude that we visited their communities, and for some, deciding to step on board the Destination Healthy Skin RV may have been lifesaving — our doctors identified 788 potential skin cancers and precancers, including 44 potential melanomas.
A New Venue for Our Annual Gala
While our Champions for Change Gala is always a night to remember, this year’s event was extra special because we welcomed guests to a new venue. More than 400 people arrived at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in the Theater District of New York City on May 10, ready to catch up with friends and colleagues while celebrating the Foundation’s lifesaving work. Dancers dazzled guests with retro-style performances, including the Charleston and a Ziegfeld Follies tribute, and a 10-piece band kept energy high all evening. The highlight of the evening was the Champions for Change award presentation recognizing Tommy Bahama, one of the Foundation’s most active corporate partners. Guests included donors, industry and physician allies, members of the media and celebrity supporters like Brendan Fraser, Hank Azaria, Cooper Hoffman and Veronica Webb. Collectively, the event raised more than $725,000 for the Foundation’s programs, including $92,000 during an inspiring in-room pledge drive.
Taking a Stand Against Teen Tanning
There’s no overstating the damage tanning beds can wreak on your skin. Indoor tanning is proven to contribute to both premature skin aging and the risk of developing skin cancer. This is especially true for teens and young adults — people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. Unfortunately, using indoor tanning devices is still legal in the U.S., and several states still permit minors to use them. That’s why The Skin Cancer Foundation teamed up with Refinery29 to gather signatures for a petition asking the FDA to finalize a rule banning indoor tanning for teens. After working together to spread the word, we were thrilled to collect over 7,500 signatures from healthy-skin supporters.
Remembering Jimmy Buffett
Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, known to millions of fans for his hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” passed away on September 1, 2023. Buffett’s death was due to a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), and when the news broke, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s website experienced a huge spike in traffic to pages with information about the disease. This uptick in awareness — not only on SkinCancer.org but in media outlets worldwide — is crucial, since MCC is a highly dangerous form of skin cancer and has a high risk of metastasizing. The good news is that when caught early, the disease is treatable, and survival rates are improving due to advances in the field of immunotherapy.
Supporting Skin Cancer Researchers
For more than 40 years, the Foundation has supported early career skin cancer researchers through its Research Grants program. In 2023, we were thrilled to award three investigators a total of $125,000 in grants to help them pursue promising research related to skin cancer detection and treatment. This year’s award recipients included:
Ashley Trenner Research Grant Award ($50,000): Goran Micevic, MD, PhD, Instructor of Dermatology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
Todd Nagel Memorial Research Grant Award ($50,000): Yuxuan Miao, PhD, Assistant Professor, The University of Chicago Ben May Department for Cancer Research
Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Research Grant Award ($25,000): Riley McLean-Mandell, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, UMass Chan Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts
Improving our Digital Properties
The Skin Cancer Foundation’s website is at the heart of what we do, helping us reach millions of people around the world with skin cancer information. This year, we increased accessibility to our international supporters by translating our content into even more languages and reached a total of more than 10 million people worldwide. SkinCancer.org is also a place skin cancer warriors use to share their stories. This year, we added a dynamic new way for survivors to share their experience with the world’s most common cancer, by creating a video through Storyvine. Dozens of SCF supporters have shared their #ThisIsSkinCancer story through the app, and we’re proud to be able to offer a platform for them. We’re looking forward to hearing from more members of our community in 2024!
Skin Cancer Awareness Day at Yankee Stadium
We’re always looking for new ways to reach people with our lifesaving messages, and this year we got some help from the New York Yankees. On Thursday, August 24, as the Yankees faced off against the Washington Nationals, fans had the opportunity to receive a free skin cancer screening. The Yankees also helped us raise money for our cause: Fans who purchased tickets to the game through a dedicated fundraising link received an official New York Yankees bucket hat co-branded with The Skin Cancer Foundation logo, as well as a hot dog and beverage.
We look forward to pursuing our goals in 2024 and can’t wait to work with our incredible community of supporters on forwarding our mission.