Hope on the Slopes raises money for melanoma research at Yale Cancer Center

Nick Ruschmeyer was a sophomore in college when he was diagnosed with a rare cancer known as choroidal melanoma, a cancer that arises in the eye. The biopsy indicated that his left eye had to be removed; the following year the cancer spread to his lungs. Three years later he is still an active young man who enjoys the outdoors. He graduated from college with a degree in Outdoor Education - Adventure Leadership, spent a month in Alaska taking courses in Heli-skiing and Winter Expedition and spent the summer as a rock climbing instructor. 

Nearest to his heart though is an event called Hope on the Slopes that has been held the past three years at Jay Peak Ski Resort in Vermont. The event is a skiing and riding fundraiser for the American Cancer Society to raise support for the lifesaving work in research, education, advocacy and patient services. This year's event raised a total of $25,000 and included 120 participants. Nick’s team, Team NickStrong, raised $5,000 which was donated to further melanoma research at Yale Cancer Center.

Nick was treated for his ocular tumor by Miguel Materin, MD, Director of Ophthalmic Oncology at Smilow Cancer Hospital and he is followed now by Harriet Kluger, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital. He is not currently receiving treatment, but Nick’s mother Sherrie commented, “We know that if/when something changes for him, he will receive the very best care with the latest and most cutting edge treatments available. The entire team at Smilow has been nothing less than wonderful.”

Hope on the Slopes is held at various ski mountains throughout the country.  Nick currently works at Jay Peak and this is the second time Team NickStrong has participated.  Last year they raised $4,800 which also went directly to fund melanoma research at Yale Cancer Center. Nick continues his dream of becoming a member of IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) and plans to continue taking part in Hope on the Slopes. Sherrie commented, “Nick looks forward to the event every year more than he does Christmas. He remains very active and to quote him directly, ‘You gotta live each moment to the fullest because you never know what tomorrow will bring.’”

This article was submitted by Emily Montemerlo on April 4, 2013.