Local group working to raise money to research rare eye cancer


AUBURN, Ala (WIAT) — A Facebook group based in Auburn is working to raise money to research a rare eye cancer called uveal melanoma or  ocular melanoma. The group is called the Auburn Ocular Melanoma Page.

CBS 42 has done several reports about a group of Auburn University students and employees who have been diagnosed with the rare cancer. To see our report click here.

An Alabama Department of Public Health investigation revealed the cases were not part of a cancer cluster. This limits the resources that could have been made available to research the rare cancer had it been declared a cluster.

Ashley McCrary is a uveal melanoma cancer survivor. McCrary is an administrator of the Auburn Ocular Melanoma Page. She says this doesn’t change their efforts to continue to raise money and awareness.

“As shocking as this may sound, we weren’t surprised by the report that came out. And it actually doesn’t change anything.” said McCrary.

Her Facebook group is continuing to raise money for more needed research efforts. The goal is to raise $200,000 through the Eye Patch Challenge. The money would fund research which includes a geo-spacial study of the area, a genetic study of those impacted, and an environmental study in hopes of determine a cause.

“If you can find something that causes it, then you can potentially find a way to treat it. And if you find a way to treat it, you can find a cure.” said McCrary.

The group has already received nearly $63,000 and Auburn University is also helping to fund the geo-spacial portion of the research. McCrary says the group will continue to raise awareness and money because it is difficult to secure funding for such a rare cancer.

“Raise awareness about getting your eyes dilated, making sure people are doing that, so that this type of cancer can be detected.” said McCrary.

Former state senator, Bill Armistead’s daughter is currently battling the cancer. He says it’s important for citizens to get involved with the legislature to help fund research.

“Contacting the governors office, contacting the legislators, or if individuals would care to participate in this and help find this. We think we can get to the $200,000 dollars over a period of time by individual contributions, but time is of essence. We don’t have a lot of time to wait to get this study done so we can find the cause so we can find the cure.” said Armistead. 

If you would like to donate to help by donating click here.

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