News & Press

Melanoma Research Gets Boost from Washington, D.C. Patients and Party-goers

WASHINGTON, D.C.— For years, treatment options for patients with advanced melanoma have been bleak, with survival averaging around one year after diagnosis.  But as the research community hones in on treatments that may be the first to improve survival, the patient community in the Washington, D.C. metro area is focusing their efforts on fueling promising research through the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). 

Chad MacDonald, who lost his wife Brenda to melanoma in 2005, is joined by several other area families affected by the disease to host the 2010 Wings of Hope Gala on Saturday, November 6, at 7 p.m. at the Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va.

“When a loved one has cancer, you desperately want to help them get better.  When the doctor told us that treatment options were so limited for my wife, I really wanted to change things,” said Chad MacDonald, founder of the Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation and gala chair.  “I’ve been lucky to be joined by others who have lost loved ones or have been diagnosed themselves to channel our efforts to improve options for people with melanoma.” 

Event organizers expect to make a substantial donation to support cutting edge research, including therapies that stimulate the immune system to fight melanoma, and clinical trials that would combine investigational therapies for maximum effect.

“I’ve seen first-hand the impact of this novel research.  I don’t think I would be alive right now if it were not for the investigational therapy I’m on,” said Lynn Wilkinson, who was diagnosed with advanced melanoma.  “Melanoma patients need a lifeline.  Funding research, especially with so many exciting breakthroughs on the horizon, is an absolute imperative.” 

Celebrity guests at the event will include multi-Grammy award winning singer, Whitney Houston and Washington, D.C.-based saxophonist, Ski Johnson, among other musician greats committed to the fight against melanoma.

Event organizers are partnering with area businesses and corporations to offer guests exciting music and dancing, gourmet food and drink, and high-end auction items.  Party-goers will be able to bid on Super Bowl and World Series tickets, a trip to Napa Valley, stays in stunning homes in St. John and Naples and four nights anywhere in the world at an exclusive resort. 

Corporate sponsors include: Allegra, Tom James Clothiers, Destination Cellars, Merrill Lynch, Goodway Graphics, Potomac Mortgage Group, Keller Williams Realty, SunTrust Bank, Chicago Title & Settlements, Inc., Champion Title & Settlements, Inc., The Mayhood Company, First American Title, Chariots for Hire, Adeler Jewelers, Keswick Homes, LLC, Cooley LLP, Churchill Mortgage Corporation, Peterson Family Foundation, Davelle Clothiers, ServiceForce USA, Nissco, LLC, Reston Limousine, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, O'Connor & Desmarais, P.C., American Relocation Connections, Chess Consulting Corporation, Fair Oaks Skin Care Center, Aspect, Kearney & Company, Dynamic Aviation, RE/MAX Gateway, M Luis Construction, Matchbox and the MRF.

All proceeds from the event will support melanoma research, going to individual researchers and the MRF, an organization that supports medical research for finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma. 

“It’s a wonderful thing that a party with champagne, music and good food can ultimately translate into research that will save lives,” said Tim Turnham, executive director for the MRF.  “The pace of discovery in the research community is unprecedented, and it’s not unrealistic to say that we could see a real impact on survival in the next few years, but this absolutely will not occur without this type of support from the community. 

The MacDonald family will be joined by the Wilkinson and Reilly families, and Michael Esposito in hosting the event. 

To find out more about DC’s Second Annual Wings of Hope Gala and the Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation, visit https://www.brendamacdonaldmrf.org.

Members of the media wishing to attend the event should contact Natasha Hamad at [email protected]or Julie Lane at [email protected].  

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About Melanoma

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and can strike men and women of all ages, all races and skin types.  In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, nearly 69,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2009, resulting in 8,650 deaths or one person every hour.  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. 

About Melanoma Research Foundation

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States.  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 an active 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.  More information is available at www.melanoma.org

About Wings of Hope

For the past eight years, the MRF has hosted the Wings of Hope for Melanoma fundraising gala in New York City.  Inspired by a mother's dream to memorialize her son, this annual event raises awareness and much needed funding for melanoma research.  This enormously popular reception, attended by hundreds of professionals from the tri-state area, features a silent and live auction, and a sweepstakes.