MRF Blog

NBA Coach George Karl to Receive the 2019 MRF Courage Award

April 17, 2019 | Categories: Events, News, Ocular Melanoma

The Melanoma Research Foundation to Honor NBA Coach George Karl with 2019 MRF Courage Award

DENVER, CO – The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) will host the 8th Annual MRF Denver Gala presented by Array BioPharma on May 2, 2019 in celebration and support of inspiring heroes in the melanoma community. In 2018, this gala raised over $230,000 to fund life-saving medical research that will lead to more effective treatments and, one day, a cure for melanoma.

The 2019 gala will be held at Mile High Station, and the MRF is excited to announce that George Karl will be honored with an MRF Courage Award in recognition of the bravery he has shown in facing ocular melanoma (OM). Ocular melanoma, or melanoma of the eye, is the second most common form of melanoma and is diagnosed in approximately 2,000 Americans every year. A former NBA player and 2013 NBA Coach of the Year, George Karl’s career spanned four decades in which he accumulated over 1,000 professional wins – a feat matched by only 8 other coaches in NBA history – including a record-setting tenure leading the Denver Nuggets and his selection to coach the NBA All-Star Game on four separate occasions. Coach Karl is also a two-time cancer survivor.

“The MRF is honored to celebrate Coach Karl at our Denver gala,” said MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira. “We are confident that the strength and winning spirit that defined both his professional career and two previous bouts with cancer will sustain his OM fight and serve as an inspiration to our community.”

Joining Coach Karl as Courage Award recipients, the MRF will recognize Denver community members Madeleine Deike, Lauren Race and Lindsay Zubeck for the steadfast bravery shown in their fights with melanoma. For his unparalleled commitment to the melanoma patient community, David Norris, MD will be honored with the MRF Humanitarian Award. Amanda Mason will receive the CURE OM Vision of Hope Award for being a dedicated advocate for ocular melanoma patients and caregivers navigating through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

The MRF Denver Gala welcomes Mike Nelson, Chief Meteorologist at Denver7, as event emcee and a variety of Denver’s elite restaurants offering delicious samplings and exclusive cocktails. Gala attendees are invited to take part in an exciting silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items and experiences.

Tickets can be purchased here and are selling fast. Sponsorship opportunities and custom packages are also available, please contact MRF Development Officer Andrew Edwards at or 202.742.5941 for more information.

Download a PDF copy of this release.


About Melanoma
Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and can strike men and women of all ages, races and skin types. In 2019, approximately 96,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with Stage I-IV melanoma and another 96,000 will be diagnosed with
melanoma in situ – totaling nearly 192,000 total diagnoses. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25- to 29-years-old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15- to 29-years-old. The majority of melanomas occur on the skin and melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma can also occur in the eye (ocular, or uveal melanoma), in mucous membranes (mucosal melanoma), or even beneath fingernails or toenails.

About the Melanoma Research Foundation
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is a committed advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website ( is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. Find the MRF on Facebook and Twitter.

Gala Tickets, Sponsorships and Donations:
Andrew Edwards

Media Contact:
Adam Smartt

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