LA JOLLA–By the time Bruce Gorder was diagnosed with melanoma, it was too late. At just 37, his life was taken by the deadly disease, leaving his wife, young daughter and family devastated. Yet out of the tragedy a new initiative was borne—one that could potentially save lives. Bruce’s widow, Vicki, organized the first 5K walk in 1993 as a way to increase awareness of melanoma and honor her late husband. This year, the 20th annual Bruce Gorder UC San Diego 5K Walk For Melanoma—which has raised more than $1.3 million for melanoma research—will take place on Oct. 19 at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
In collaboration with the Gorder family, UC San Diego invites the community to come together for a scenic 5K walk around the campus. Information about melanoma prevention and free skin screenings by local dermatologists will be provided. Participants may form teams and bring the whole family for the walk, which will feature a welcome from Bill Griffith, Channel 10 News anchor and cancer survivor.
Bruce Gorder’s daughter, Gabrielle, now 25 years old, will be at the 5K to share her story and encourage awareness of the dangerous cancer. “I was only three years old when my father passed away, so I never really got to know him,” said Gabrielle. “A 5K walk may not seem like it can get us very far on the journey to find a cure for melanoma, but every step taken brings us that much closer to the finish line—educating people about sun safety, cancer prevention and supporting melanoma research.”
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, and can occur anywhere on the body. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma will affect 76,700 people in the U.S. alone this year, and will claim the lives of nearly 9,500. The incidence of the disease has been increasing over the past 30 years, making events like the Gorder 5K Walk even more important as a vehicle to spread the word about the necessity of skin screenings and early detection.
“The Gorder 5K Walk For Melanoma is about people telling other people about melanoma and sharing their stories to bring attention to this disease,” states Gregory Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., head of the clinical melanoma research program at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “With the support from participation in this walk, we are able to offer enhanced therapies and get closer to developing a cure for melanoma.”
Since her father’s passing, Gabrielle has been an active promoter of melanoma awareness, reminding others that remembering to apply sunscreen and getting frequent check-ups can prevent the deadly disease.
“I would like to thank the thousands of individuals who have joined my family on the path to raising melanoma awareness,” said Gabrielle. “There is a strong bond bringing us together year after year with the same destination in mind. On my dad’s behalf, thank you.”
Sign-in will begin at 8 a.m. at Moores Cancer Center, located at 3855 Health Sciences Drive on the UC San Diego east campus. The walk will begin immediately following Griffith’s welcome at 9 a.m., and will take participants on a loop through the campus. Participants will receive a free event bag while supplies last and a prize drawing entry for giveaways. Registration is $25 for students with ID and $35 for all others. To register, visit https://act.ucsd.edu/gorder-walk, or call (858)-246-1570.