The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the AIM at Melanoma Foundation joined to host the 9th Annual AIM for the CURE Melanoma Walk and Fun Run to promote awareness of skin cancer prevention and to raise funds for melanoma research.
The event, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m., was specifically held early in the evening to prevent excessive sun exposure. All participants, including cancer survivors, patients, and family members, brought something that glowed, flashed, or blinked.
The 5K walk/run began outside MD Anderson’s Mays Clinic and continued across the Texas Medical Center in Houston. This year’s master of ceremonies was Deborah Duncan, the host of “Great Day Houston” on the local CBS station, KHOU.
Before the race started, a series of events were held to educate participants about skin cancer. Guest speakers included Patrick Hwu, MD, division head of Cancer Medicine and chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology, and Jean Schlipmann, co-founder of the AIM at Melanoma Foundation.
The AIM for the CURE Melanoma Walk and Fun Run also included free skin cancer screenings, educational materials, an ultraviolet camera to show skin damage, massages, and food vendors. Children had their own show, by MD Anderson’s Too Cool to Smoke puppet play and preschool sun-safety curriculum, Ray and the Sunbeatables.
“The AIM for the CURE event is a great opportunity for public education and provides valuable support for our efforts to research new melanoma treatments, including immunotherapy-based strategies,” Hwu said in a press release. “Prevention education is critical because sun safety and skin screening can save so many lives from this deadly form of skin cancer.”
In 2015, over 1,400 participants and 200 volunteers helped raise $115,000 for MD Anderson’s melanoma research programs. This year, all of the event’s proceedings will be used to continue MD Anderson’s support of the Melanoma Moon Shot Program and its Immunotherapy Platform.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 in every 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their lives, making this the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer, will be diagnosed in an estimated 76,000 or more people in the U.S. this year alone.
Research has shown that the risk of skin cancer can be reduced by avoiding excessive sun or tanning bed exposure, and by using broad-spectrum sunscreens that filter both UVA and UVB rays.