May 052005
Authors: Clarke Reader

"Rayz Awareness" Eighth Annual Melanoma awareness gala


6:30 p.m.

Manno's Bar and Grille at Collindale Golf Course, 1441 E. Horsetooth Road

Tickets: $25 per person, $40 per couple. Can be bought at door, but calling for reservation at 229-0238 preferred

21 and older only

As finals week and summer loom ahead, many students will be spending time outside enjoying the warm weather. But there are risks that come from spending too much time in the sun.

The Eighth Annual Melanoma Awareness Gala, "Rayz Awareness," hopes to make people more aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure.

"Melanoma is a type of skin cancer," said Ashlee Anderson, a volunteer for the Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund. "It has four stages, with only a 20 percent survival rate for the fourth stage. If we detect it early, it's up to a 70 percent treatable. "

The threat of melanoma increases with age, and the disease is on the rise, which is part of the reason May is Melanoma Month, as recognized by the American Academy of Dermatology.

"The sun not only provides damage to your skin, but can be deadly, and sitting in tanning beds are just as dangerous," said Kathy Walter, who founded the Bill Walter III Melanoma Research fund eight years ago after her husband died of melanoma, and is the gala's event coordinators. "Even one severe blistered burn puts you at risk for melanoma."

Students sometimes ignore the risks of excess time spent in the sun.

"The younger burns are often the most dangerous, and the more frequently you burn, the more danger," said Claire Smith, nurse practitioner at Harthsorn Health Service. "Skin type dictates what kind of reaction you have to sun exposure; it's important that you recognize your type and take precautions."

The Bill Walter Foundation, which has headquarters in Fort Collins and Daytona Beach, Fla., is committed to battling the disease.

"Our mission is three-fold: financially assist people afflicted with melanoma, provide education outreach programs and provide funding for current research," Walter said. "We want to turn our pain into help for others."

The "Rayz Awarness" dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Manno's Bar and Grille at the Collindale Golf Course, 1441 E. Horsetooth Road. Tickets, which are only available for those older than 21, are $25 per person and $40 per couple and can be purchased at the door, although calling ahead for reservations at 229-0238 is preferred.

In addition to dinner, drinks and live music, provided by Steve Manshel, former member of the band Firefall, the gala will feature several other events to help the foundation.

"The keynote speaker is the founder and president of the foundation, Tim Richardson, who is a certified motivational speaker," Walter said. "There will also be a Powerpoint presentation."

In addition to these events, both a silent and live auction will be held.

"Prizes range from condos in Kauai, Hawaii, and Keystone to gift certificates from local donators," Anderson said.

The event's main goal is to make people cautious of their time in the sun.

"Colorado has one of the highest current rates of melanoma," Anderson said. "So we want to increase the number of people who are aware of the disease.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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