About Skin of Steel

Advocating for the melanoma patient community

On March 12, 2010, Susan Steel and a board of seven directors founded the organization Skin of Steel to change how the world approaches melanoma awareness and research.

At that time, Susan was a five-year, Stage IV melanoma survivor and she wanted to make sure other people wouldn’t have to walk in her shoes. Skin of Steel first engaged in sun safety education and advocacy within the community of Glenview, helped establish Illinois tanning bed legislation to prevent minors from access to tanning beds without parental permission. SOS continues to work on these efforts but has largely decided it can have the most impact on melanoma research – hopefully ­changing the face of melanoma for generations to come.

It was 2012 when Skin of Steel first engaged in discussions with AIM at Melanoma about the potential of creating the first-ever national, collaborative tissue bank that could advance melanoma research and improve treatment in Chicago and beyond. No institutions or researchers are currently collecting primary tissues and sharing the data – despite the fact that the scientists recognize this type of collaboration could hold the key to more personalized melanoma treatment and a cure. And SOS and AIM, with their “patients-first” focus, are uniquely qualified to convene the consortium.

Our Mission


Skin of Steel’s mission is to provoke revolutionary personal, behavioral and institutional change in dealing with melanoma.

On January 13, 2016, Susan Steel passed away from complications of acute leukemia.

Her dream of the opening of a national melanoma tissue bank is close to fruition.

Skin of Steel is an IRS-designated 501(c)3

Skin of Steel is a member of the Melanoma Action Coalition (MAC), a group of community-based melanoma foundations and individuals from across the United States working together to share information and provide mutual support so that we can become more effective advocates for melanoma awareness, education, prevention, and research.