Those of us who are active in the melanoma community are very familiar with the organization, AIM at Melanoma. AIM is the largest international melanoma foundation focused on research, education, legislation, and awareness, not to mention the organization hosts dozens of Melanoma Walks and free skin cancer screenings annually (we have been blessed enough to be able to support a ton of these events!). AIM at Melanoma is doing GREAT things in the melanoma community, with the ultimate goal being to find a cure for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
But are you equally familiar with AIM’s co-founder, Jean Schlipmann? Or the reason behind why this inspiring woman chose to make this cause her life’s mission? In case you are unaware, in 2002 Jean lost the love of her life, her best friend, and her husband James “Jim” Schlipmann, to melanoma, just 3 days before his 45th birthday. Jim’s loss was devastating to Jean, but as a result of her tragedy, Jean was inspired to make a difference and went on to join forces with the Charlie Guild Melanoma Foundation to form AIM at Melanoma. Jean has been gracious enough to share Jim’s story with us, and we’d like to share it with you.
“I’m forever grateful that God made you. That He gave you strength and tenderness, a gift of laughter, too. That He gave you honesty and faith, and courage deep and true. That He gave you dreams to work for and the energy to dare. And that God gave the two of us His precious Love to share. I’m so thankful for the happiness we had, for the life we shared, and for the very special blessing of your love.“
James “Jim” A. Schlipmann | 12/15/57 – 12/12/02
There’s so much to say about Jim. He was a loving and devoted husband – the Love of My Life and My Best Friend. He cared deeply about his family and throughout his life, he made innumerable lasting friendships.
He was so special and so selfless. From the time he was diagnosed until the time he died (less than 7 months), he fought a courageous battle against the Beast. He spent his final days here on earth preparing those around him to be able to deal with his death. When the Beast won, on December 12th, the loss was devastating.
I kept asking… How could someone have a complete physical and receive a clean bill of health on March 25th, then be diagnosed with terminal cancer less than 2 months later, on May 22nd? And, then die less than 7 months later? No one could give me an answer.
From the time he was diagnosed until the time he died (less than 7 months), he fought a courageous battle against the Beast.
So… on December 15, 2002, (3 days after his death) I founded the James A. Schlipmann Melanoma Cancer Foundation to honor him and keep his memory alive by providing hope for individuals suffering from this horrible form of cancer, and their families.
Jim’s Foundation grew tremendously during the first 6 years – supporting research, patients, and caregivers. In 2008, the foundation took a huge leap into the future to offer even more hope for the melanoma community by merging with the Charlie Guild Melanoma Foundation and forming AIM at Melanoma (AIM)…
The information below provides “brief” highlights of what AIM is doing to support the Melanoma Community, and to change the future landscape of Melanoma Treatment.
With regard to RESEARCH…
Our International Melanoma Working Group (IMWG) – comprised of melanoma researchers from around the world and from all spectrums of the disease – has launched the first of its kind Brain Mets Clinical Trail, Brain Mets Tissue Bank, and International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium. The Oncology Community believes this consortium will be key to major breakthroughs in melanoma research.
Our IMWG is looking to create and run a whole new kind of clinical trial system that will answer critical questions about melanoma more quickly, while using far fewer patients.
With regard to EDUCATION…
We host Patient & Caregiver Symposiums at major cancer centers across the country. These symposiums are videotaped and made available for viewing via our website.
Our website is the leading online resource for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of melanoma in the United States, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK… and soon to be in South America.
We have an Oncology Nurse on Call and a Clinical Trial Matching Service.
These are only a few of the resources we make available to educate patients, caregivers, and the general public. Please visit our website and you will see the wealth of information we make available to assist the melanoma community.
With regard to LEGISLATION…
AIM is leading the way. We’re diligently working to get bills passed into law across the country to ban minors – under 18 – from indoor tanning devices.
We’re also leading the way on another legislative effort – Oral Parity. AIM does not believe that patients should have to choose a treatment based on financial obligations.
With regard to AWARENESS…
We host events across the country to increase awareness. We work with Dermatology Interest Groups at major medical centers, host FREE skin cancer screenings, and provide informational materials to hospitals, schools, and businesses – just to name a few.
For more information about AIM’s efforts, visit AIMatMelanoma.org