The Blog

The Woiner Foundation partners to support melanoma tissue bank

The Woiner Foundation is proud to partner with AIM at Melanoma to bring a new fundraising event to Pittsburgh!  Please read the important message below from Dr. John Kirkwood.  We hope to see you on April 23rd.


Our 1st Annual – AIM for the CURE Melanoma Walk & Fun Run in Pittsburgh is scheduled on Saturday, April 23rd, supporting melanoma research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). We hope that you will join us and help us in our fight to eliminate melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer.

The urgency of melanoma research is supported by the following facts:

  • One person dies every hour from melanoma.
  • Melanoma does not discriminate in age or gender.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • Annual cost for treating melanoma has grown faster than the annual treatment costs for all cancers

Your support will help advance innovative research, and new and more promising personalized treatment
approaches for the future.

UPCI is one of four leading melanoma research centers in the U.S. that have laid the groundwork for a tissue bank consortium, which will provide the most basic of tools – primary tissue to be used in research. The tissue bank will be a critical resource for melanoma researchers to advance innovative and novel new treatment options to reverse the progress of this cancer. 100% of the net proceeds from this event will support the UPCI melanoma
tissue bank – benefiting those impacted by melanoma locally, regionally and nationally.

AIM at Melanoma is the largest international melanoma foundation globally engaged and locally invested in advancing the battle against melanoma through innovative research, legislative reform, education, and patient and caregiver support. The Woiner Foundation is proud to partner with AIM at Melanoma in their common mission to promote awareness and to fund melanoma research.

We would appreciate your consideration of support and invite you to join us in our unwavering battle against
melanoma. TOGETHER, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of individuals suffering from this deadly cancer and their families!

Warmest Regards,
John M. Kirkwood, MD
2016 AIM for the Cure Honorary Chair, Pittsburgh


The Woiner Foundation gives $60,000 to melanoma, pancreatic cancer research

On December 14, 2015 at the WPXI-TV Studios in Pittsburgh, Pa., The Woiner Foundation awarded a total of $60,000 to two different groups to support melanoma and pancreatic cancer research and patient care programs.

The foundation awarded $30,000 to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program. The award was accepted by Dr. John Kirkwood, the program’s director. The money will directly support the program’s melanoma research initiatives.

The foundation awarded $30,000 to the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer. The award was accepted by Marla Wagner, Board Secretary for the AFFPC. The money will be used to support Dr. A. James Moser’s pancreatic cancer research programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston.


The Woiner Foundation raised the money through its third annual 3-2-1 Ride event, which was attended by more than 550 area cyclists and volunteers on Oct. 11, 2015 on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and its first annual Tim & Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing, held in May 2015 at Rolling Fields Golf Club in Murrysville. The 3-2-1 Ride event raised 28.5% more than last year, bringing the 3-year fundraising total to $130,500!

Since its founding in 2013, The Woiner Foundation has given $140,000 in grants to support the fight against melanoma and pancreatic cancer.

“In the past 5 years I have lost both of my parents to cancer, my mom to pancreatic cancer and my dad to melanoma, and at age 32, I have seen my husband battle stage one melanoma twice,” said Woiner Foundation Executive Director Jessica Fera.  “This fight is personal to me, and I know it is for many of our event participants, too.  Whether or not they have been personally touched by one of these diseases, it’s likely that someone they know or love has battled some type of cancer.  We promise to make every dollar raised count.”

The Woiner Foundation is a Pittsburgh-based 501(c)(3), volunteer-run, non-profit organization founded in 2013. The organization’s mission is to fight melanoma and pancreatic cancer by increasing awareness, supporting patients, survivors and families and funding important research.

In 2016, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer increased slightly, moving from 7 to 8 percent. However, pancreatic cancer deaths will surpass those caused by breast cancer, moving the disease from the fourth to the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics 2016 report.

Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and worldwide, and it’s the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25-29. Every eight minutes someone in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma but when caught early, it’s almost 100% curable.