A Legacy That Will Live On

Photos and story provided and edited by Dr. Sara Selig
Article written by Tika Siburt

This is a touching and inspiring story that just could not be passed up. It is one that when read, brought tears to my eyes. Dr. Sara Selig, director of CURE OM (Community United for Research and Education of Ocular Melanoma) shares her story about her beloved Gregg, his battle with cancer, and their journey to raise awareness for ocular melanoma.

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In 2006, at the age of 34, Gregg and his wife Sara were given the devastating news that Gregg had ocular melanoma, choroidal melanoma to be exact. Immediately Gregg received treatment by Dr. Carol Shields (who is on the inaugural Scientific Steering Committee for CURE OM) and Dr. Miguel Materin at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, a year later they received even more overwhelming news: Gregg’s cancer had metastasized to his liver. The prognosis? A mere six months. Gregg was a fighter and through perseverance, courage, and teamwork, Gregg and Sara turned those 6 months into an additional 4 1/2 years. Along the way, while advocating for Gregg, they additionally put their efforts towards advocating for the entire ocular melanoma community, as the knowledge of ocular melanoma to the majority of the population is extremely slim. Ultimately, in the fall of 2011, Gregg and Sara joined forces with the Melanoma Research Foundation to co-found the CURE OM initiative to accelerate research and support the patient, caregiver, and physician communities.

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Sadly, Gregg passed in January of 2012, but his legacy is strong. CURE OM has raised over 1 million dollars, $800,000 of which has been secured for research alone. The importance of public knowledge of ocular melanoma is immense and unfortunately lacking. It is through CURE OM that the word can spread to the community and physicians about this specific type of cancer. Hopefully, this will result in early screenings and detection that can lead to earlier treatment. Not only that, but CURE OM is accelerating research which will lead to effective treatments and ultimately, a cure altogether.

 

To learn more about CURE OM you can visit their website.

To read more about Gregg’s story you can visit the following links: