Don’t miss the ultimate foodie event, The Baltimore Sun's Secret Supper

Westminster-based melanoma foundation to close

After 10 years in the community, the Westminster-based Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation plans to close its doors June 30.

The foundation has promoted awareness about melanoma cancer, funded research for a cure and educated the public about prevention and detection of melanoma since it was founded in 2004, according to the foundation's website.

There was not just one thing that contributed to the closing of the foundation, but it was a combination of numerous things, according to founder and chairman of the foundation Robert Nicolay.

"Our theory was to be first-class and when we found out that we couldn't be first-class anymore, we had to stop. We concluded that we have done wonderful things over the years. There is still a long way to go with melanoma and we won't ever give up until there is a cure," Nicolay said.

With programs such as the Research Scholar Award, where Ph.D. students at universities and colleges in the U.S. who are researching melanoma cancer are awarded with funding for research, and a high school education curriculum about prevention and awareness, the foundation has become known locally, statewide and nationally, Nicolay said.

Working with health departments in Maryland and acting as an advocate for legislation on tanning beds, the foundation made sure that no one under 18 can go to a tanning salon without parental guidance, according to Nicolay.

"We started off with objectives that we wanted to accomplish and we knew we could complete in 10 years," he said. "We were losing our top people. I had to retire and the president of the foundation was moving on.

"Fundraising became strenuous," Nicolay said. "The main thing we did was triathlons and at some point they multiplied, which meant that the ones we had now were not drawing the amount of participants that we were initially getting, and we were also not able to get the number of volunteers need for the events."

As the foundation comes to a close, it will continue to fund the Research Scholar Award and education curriculum until the end of 2014.

Its primary fundraising event, the Tri-to-Win Triathlon at the South Carroll Swim Club, will now be hosted by Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.

"Instead of just letting the [triathlon] end, they decided to turn it over to another nonprofit business, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland," said Debbie Brown, director of marketing of Meals on Wheels and vice chair of the Melanoma Foundation. "Since I was already involved with the foundation and they knew about my event planning history with Meals on Wheels, they asked me to take over their annual triathlon event."

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad