News

Claire Marie Foundation Takes NYC!

 

Bright Lights! Big City! On August 17th, CMF lit up Times Square in New York City with plenty of Claire Coral! The Claire Marie Foundation was one of a handful of nonprofits featured in Times Square as part of  National NonProfit Day! Our :15 second commercial ran 100 times in 6 hours – with 1.5 million impressions and thousands of people reached! That doesn’t even count our social media impact!

 Raising awareness of adolescent and young adult melanoma with the knowledge it can be prevented is the heart of CMF’s mission. We can’t imagine a better way to do it! Co-Founder CEO and Claire’s Mom, Marianne Banister, was joined in the big reveal by Claire Marie Board Members, Jaqueline Smith and Julianne Kavoussi as well as Young Professional Ambassadors Sarah Emrich, Becky Kavoussi and Collegiate Ambassadors Molly Sharpe and Anna Sharpe.

The event was especially meaningful for Claire’s mom.  Claire would be SO excited!  She absolutely loved the energy and excitement of New York!  She had so many happy adventures while visiting the city with her sister Hillary and friends. We can only imagine how excited she would be to see the impact of her legacy in Times Square – spreading so much awareness  and hope in the fight against adolescent and young adult melanoma.”

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Screening To Save Your Life! How To Find the Best Dermatologist

We cannot say it enough! Make sure you are screened annually for melanoma and other skin cancers. It is essential to nip melanoma in the bud, halting its ability to move through your body and threaten your life. But who does the screening and how they screen can make all the difference.  Here’s some tips to keep in mind!

Rule #1: Skip Your Primary Care Physician

Surprise! Pediatricians and General Practitioners do not routinely study dermatology in their medical preparation. That means they are not trained to detect skin cancer and melanoma at its earliest point of origin. The result; melanoma is often overlooked or misdiagnosed at the earliest stage when it is most highly treatable – especially in young people.

Rule #2: Find the Right Dermatologist

Before you book your neighbor’s favorite dermatologist, listen to this: not all dermatologists are equally trained nor have equal focus. Some specialize more in the aesthetic and cosmetic care of the skin. Others offer greater attention to the disease aspects of the skin. Then there are those who are equally balanced in both specialties. Do your homework before making an appointment. Sometimes you can get faster access by booking a screening with a Dermatological Physicians Assistant who has been trained specifically in dermoscopy to screen for melanoma. It’s all a matter of a dermatologists training, focus and expertise – and your ability to find the right person for you.

Rule #3: Advocate For Yourself!

Ask a few questions and make sure you are scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist who meets the Gold Standard of skin screening. This is no time to be shy! You should ask about their screening procedures and expect the following:

  • The dermatologist will put you into a gown and do a full body check for moles and any lesions. That includes the feet, nails, head and genital areas. If a dermatologist suggests you don’t need a full body screening because you are “too young for melanoma”- find a new dermatologist
  • Make sure the dermatologist uses dermoscopy. It is a screening technique that uses skin surface microscopy. It can also be called epiluminoscopy and epiluminescent microscopy. It allows the dermatologist to look into the layers, color patterns and changes deep within the mole, rather than just glancing at the surface.  If a dermatologist wants to evaluate your moles with only their naked eye rather than use a dermatoscope – find a new dermatologist.

Rule #4: What If Something Is Found On My Skin?

Finding an atypical or precancerous mole doesn’t mean you have melanoma. But, it does mean something is changing on a cellular level. Since melanoma in adolescents and young adults is more aggressive and more invasive than in the older adult population – it should always be considered a victory to have an atypical mole removed and evaluated before it can evolve further. Remember: Remove the mole – Remove the risk. 

  • If a mole is found to be questionable, the dermatologist will determine if it should be removed for biopsy or if it should be watched. The appropriate time period for “watching” is three months.  You should also keep a close eye on the mole in question and look for any other changes in your skin. Don’t hesitate to call if something evolves and changes before the scheduled follow-up appointment. And keep that appointment!
  • Many dermatologists will photograph moles they want to keep an eye on to best detect any change. Still others may recommend “mole-mapping” technology in families at high risk for the disease. This involves full body photography. 

So in answer to your question – who do I call? Here’s a few names for those in the Mid-Atlantic area and South Carolina. 

Listed below are the amazing ‘Gold Standard” dermatologists who dedicate their time and expertise to the Claire Marie Free Screening Program and meet the highest standards of care.  All are listed in alphabetical order in the two cities we serve as of Fall 2022.   Many are part of the renown teams at Johns Hopkins Dermatology, Simmons-O’Brien & Orlinsky, Belcara Health,  Germain Dermatology, Maryland Dermatology, Skin & Vein, SCSPhysicians, Mercy Medical Center or University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Hospital. Others are in Private Practice, and extremely attentive to their patient’s care. We are honored, privileged and so very grateful to have them join us in our mission to save young lives. 

Baltimore, Maryland

  • Dr. Melanie Adams, M.D
  • Dr. Karen Beasley, M.D., F.A.A.D
  • Dr. Nicola Bravo, M.D.
  • Dr. Sarah Cannon, M.D.
  • Dr. Bernard Cohen, M.D. 
  • Dr. Sherry Cohen, M.D.
  • Dr. Jennifer Cooper, M.D.
  • Dr. Meg Gerstenblith, M.D.
  • Dr. Anna Grossberg, M.D.
  • Dr. Christian Halvorsen, M.D.
  • Dr. Sarah Hsu, M.D.
  • Dr. Dennis Kurgansky, M.D.
  • Dr. Onah Lauring, M.D.
  • Dr. Mark Lowitt, M.D.
  • Dr. Vadim Gushchin, M.D.
  • Dr. Stanley Miller, M.D.
  • Dr. Diane Orlinsky, M.D. F.A.A.D
  • Dr. Rachel Schleicher, M.D.
  • Dr. Amie Sessa, M.D.
  • Dr. Eva Simmons – O’Brien, M.D., F.A.A.D
  • Dr. Saif Syed, M.D.
  • Dr. Zain Syed, M.D.
  • Dr. Samantha Vincent, M.D.
  • Dr. Margaret Weiss, M.D., F.A.A.D.
  • Dr. Robert Weiss, M.D., F.A.A.D
  • Dr. Sean Wu, M.D.

Charleston, S.C. 

Germain Dermatology

  • Dr. Marguerite Germain, M.D.
  • Dr.Joshua Black, M.D.
  • Louisa Floyd, PA-C
  • Dr. Emily Kmetz, M.D.
  • Lainey O’Donnell, PA-C
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Congratulations to the 2022 Recipient of the Claire Marie Foundation Scholarship in Arts & Design

Congratulations to Brigitte Gendron, the 2022 Recipient of the Claire Marie Scholarship in Arts & Design!

The Notre Dame Preparatory Senior will begin her design studies at Fordham this Fall! Once she gets unpacked and settled, Brigitte is excited to immerse herself in the study of Visual and Concept Arts.  Her dream is to channel all her passion and love of design into a career in the entertainment industry;  in film, television or game design. 

 Every year since 2015, the $5,000 award is given to a graduating senior from Claire’s alma mater, Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson Maryland to support the recipient’s desire to study design arts in college. It was a dream of Claire’s to launch a career in interior design and we are thrilled to see other young women share the same passion and excitement. Each year, our winners are selected by an exquisite team of esteemed design professionals from across the country! They bring expertise in fine arts, theatrical, animation, interiors, fashion, photography and film. Our thanks to our CMF Scholarship Committee: Katie Fico with Walt Disney Animation Studio, Los Angeles based Interior Designer Stacey Vuduris, Theatrical Designer Timothy Swiss of Los Angeles, Photographer Susannah Dowell of Colorado, Muralist and Freelance Artist Katherine Boggs of Atlanta and Couture Designer Ella Pritsker of Maryland.

Brigitte joins past recipients who have studied in Claire’s memory at University of Ohio at Miami, University of Southern California, Rollins College, University of Virginia ,Savannah College of Arts & Design and University of Maryland Baltimore County. 

Brigitte, all the best in your academic and professional adventures! We can’t wait to see the magic you create to brighten the world!

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Baltimore Running Festival – Lace Up Your Shoes

Thank you for running on behalf of the Claire Marie Foundation in the 16th Baltimore Running Festival on October 21, 2017! The Baltimore Running Festival is considered one of the best races on the East Coast and we are so proud to be a part of this great Maryland tradition.

To register, email us at [email protected] and we’ll get you signed right up! All you need to do is lace up your running shoes, get your friends to support your efforts, and have a blast while running to support our cause!!

To participate, each runner must raise the following minimum amount by October 5th, 2017.

Kids Fun Run: $100.00

5k – $250.00

Half Marathon – $350.00

Marathon – $500.00

Relay Team – $250.00 per runner / or $1,000.00 per team (heads-up: this event fills quickly!)

Inspired to raise more than the minimum dollars? Yes please! We’d love it! After all event expenses are covered, 100% of additional funds will support our mission to raise awareness, clarity, and hope in the fight against adolescent melanoma.

Each participant will receive a Claire Marie Foundation Team shirt, entry into a pre-event Team pasta dinner, and a chance at the following prizes:

· For the top Individual fundraiser (5k, Half Marathon or Full Marathon) – $1,000 travel voucher on Southwest Airlines.

· For the top Relay Team Fundraiser – $2,000 travel voucher on Southwest Airlines.

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Free Adolescent Melanoma Screenings

Free Adolescent Melanoma Screenings Locations:




Thanks to our Presenting Sponsor:

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Collegiate Ambassador Program

This spring we launched a peer-to-peer melanoma awareness and prevention program on college and university campuses across the country. 50 students on 20 campuses represent the Claire Marie Foundation and offer melanoma awareness and education presentations to Greek organizations, sports teams, wellness fairs and collegiate activities.

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The ACAC Claire Marie Fitness Challenge

Join us for an event jam-packed with music, fitness and fun!  Spin, Zumba and Barre classes available, great for all fitness abilities.

Afterwards, enjoy brunch with the family.  Free Kids Zone child care (6 weeks-12 yrs).

When: Saturday, December 10th, 7-10am

Where: ACAC Timonium

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Claire Marie Dance Challenge

Because at the Claire Marie Foundation we believe in honoring Claire’s sassy, fun and joyous spirit while raising awareness of adolescent melanoma, we were thrilled when Claire’s friends created and launched the Claire Marie Dance Challenge in honor of what would have been her 19th birthday in April!

From Lynchburg College Men’s Lacrosse to Delta Delta Delta sorority at the University of South Carolina onto Johns Hopkins Women’s Lacrosse and much more, there was a whole lot of dancing, shaking and celebrating going on at high schools and college campuses throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the South. In the end, the videos posted on youtube, garnered nearly five thousand views and helped spread awareness of adolescent melanoma to those affected the most! Thanks to all who joined in the campaign. If you feel inspired to join in the cause – the Claire Marie Dance Challenge is still open! Just follow the directions below! Let us see your moves!

#AwarenessSavesLives! #LiveLifeLikeClaire!

See some of the videos here 

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2nd Annual Claire Marie Foundation Scholarship Awarded

1The second annual Claire Marie Foundation Scholarship for Arts and Design was recently awarded to Meredith Egan, a 2016 graduating Senior of the Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Maryland. Meredith will be attending Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater Design as well as Business Administration.

The Claire Marie Foundation Scholarship is awarded annually in the memory of Claire Marie Wagonhurst, an aspiring interior designer and member of the Notre Dame Prep Class of 2015 who passed away of adolescent melanoma at the age of 17. Applicants must be a graduating senior at Notre Dame Prep pursuing an academic and professional career in design arts.

An impressive panel of professional judges determined the winner of the $5,000 scholarship, including Model, Fashion and Life Style Expert Molly Sims, Los Angeles based Interior Designer Stacey Vuduris, Creator and Designer of Danielle Nicole handbags Danielle DiFerdinando,  Fashion Illustrator Inslee Haynes, Lighting and Set Designer, Tim Swiss of Los Angeles and Maryland’s First Lady Mrs. Yumi Hogan who is an accomplished artist and educator at MICA.

The Claire Marie Foundation was established in 2014 following the death of Claire Marie Wagonhurst, a sparkling 17 year old who lost a long battle with adolescent melanoma as a result of changes her body went through during puberty. The Claire Marie Foundation strives to raise awareness, clarity and hope in the fight against adolescent melanoma while celebrating the joy, color and beauty that Claire embraced every day.  The Foundation is led by Marianne Banister and her husband Rocky Wagonhurst, Claire’s parents.

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May- Melanoma Month

During this National Melanoma Month of May, you will hear many calls of awareness to prevent skin cancer and melanoma. The Claire Marie Foundation joins in that mission. But when Melanoma stands as the number one cause of death in women 25 to 30 and the number two cancer among adolescents, the time for talk is over.

“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

The Claire Marie Foundation  is proud to be the first in the nation to offer an afternoon of sun safety education and free head-to-toe dermatological screenings exclusively for young people 21 years and younger.  Dermatologist Dr Eva Simmons-O’Brien, pediatrician Dr. James Fragetta and Maryland Pediatrics Group rounded up a team of renown Maryland dermatologists who donated a Sunday to screen young people.  With the average wait for a dermatology appointment three to five months, our registration and wait-list for the April 24th event quickly filled.

The findings of our screening afternoon were astounding.

  • Atypical moles were found on 20% of the young people seen with biopsy recommended.
  • Some of the nevi were suspicious for melanoma both on clinical exam and with use of a dermoscopy.
  • Of those children with recommended biopsy, 25% had an immediate family member with a history of melanoma.
  • The young people screened were between the ages of 8 and 19 years old.
  • 74% of the young people screened were girls.

Statistically, it should be noted puberty can begin as early as 9 years old. 90% of the cases of adolescent melanoma develop in patients between the ages of 10 and 19 with 55% of the cases in girls and young women due to estrogen factors.

From the time our Claire was diagnosed we saw clearly that melanoma must be detected and removed the earliest possible moment.  We were blind-sided with the diagnosis because she followed all the rules; she wore sunscreen, never tanned and saw a dermatologist annually. What we didn’t know was melanoma can develop in young people due to genetics or hormonal changes during puberty. Despite early detected changes in her mole, we had to wait nearly three months for an appointment to get it removed. We were told “Relax. Kids don’t get melanoma.”  That is when we pledged to open the door to awareness, early detection and treatment.

At the Claire Marie Foundation, we are so proud to empower these families with the ability to detect and stop this disease. Remove the mole,  remove the risk.  If diagnosed with disease, these families can jump into a treatment plan at the earliest possible stage when skin cancers and even melanoma are highly treatable.

“The future depends on what you do today.” Yes it does. Wear sunscreen. Don’t tan. Invest in UPF 50 protective wear. Get screened. Take care of your skin, take care of you and become aware. After all, awareness saves lives.

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