Get ready for an exciting announcement for the melanoma community

  • Days
  • Hours
  • Minutes

News & Press

Meet Chris, MRF Courage Award Recipient

May is Melanoma Awareness Month and we can think of no better way to start the month than by recognizing a melanoma warrior and celebrating the real and lasting impact that MRF supporters have on the melanoma community.

Chris Westdyk is a 20-year-old junior at the University of Notre Dame, where he is majoring in Pre-Med and Economics. Chris was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school and his initial treatment consisted of two surgeries and a year of enzyme-inhibiting treatments. Through it all, Chris insisted that he continue going to school and running for his school’s cross country and track teams.

After graduating high school and moving on to Notre Dame, his melanoma returned and required another surgery and a year of immunotherapy. A year later, he had yet another recurrence and repeated the process again. Despite his ongoing battle with melanoma, Chris remains actively involved as a pre-med college student. He is a Resident Advisor at Notre Dame, provides first aid at varsity hockey games, runs regularly and has gone on several service trips to Eastern Kentucky. He also loves hiking and skiing with his family.

After graduation, Chris plans to teach high school science for two years before moving on to medical school. He shared that he is immensely grateful for the work of organizations like the MRF because many of the treatments that he has received did not exist several years ago, and these treatments have enabled him to keep doing the things he loves. 

The Melanoma Research Foundation recognized Chris with a Courage Award at the 2017 Wings of Hope for Melanoma Gala in New York City. In his acceptance speech, Chris shared how he personally benefited from innovative new treatments and research supported by the MRF.

Please consider supporting the work of the MRF. Your tax-deductible donation to the MRF supports courageous fighters like Chris, and can lead us one step closer to a cure.