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Washington, D.C. Melanoma Patient Community Celebrates Treatment Advances

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year, the melanoma community saw the first new approvals of drugs to treat melanoma in 13 years.  This major step forward will give more than 400 party-goers reason to celebrate at the third annual Wings of Hope Gala.  They will gather at the Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. on Saturday, November 19 to applaud these cutting-edge advances and raise money for future research through the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF).

The urgency of new research is underscored by the experiences of several D.C. metro area families.  Chad MacDonald lost his wife, Brenda, to melanoma in 2005 and founded the Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation in her honor.  Bud Wilkinson lost his wife, Lynn, earlier this year.  These families joined others in the community affected by melanoma to spearhead the event to raise critical funds for research.   

"We are making tremendous progress in identifying new, effective treatments for melanoma – a disease that had limited treatment options for so many years," said Chad MacDonald, founder of the Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation and gala chair. "But even with this year's remarkable breakthroughs, we have a long way to go to cure this lethal disease.  More research is urgently needed."

Event organizers expect to make a substantial donation to support innovative research facilitated through the Melanoma Research Foundation.  The MRF is the largest independent, national organization dedicated to supporting education efforts, patient advocacy and medical research aimed at finding treatments, and eventually a cure, for melanoma.  The MRF's efforts include support for clinical trials combining investigational therapies.

Event organizers are partnering with area businesses and corporations to offer guests an exciting evening of music, dancing, gourmet food and drink, as well as high-end auction items.  Party-goers will be able to bid on Washington Redskins suite tickets, trips to the Outer Banks, and stays in a stunning home in Naples and wine villa in Tuscany.

Corporate sponsors include: Genentech, Champion Title, Chicago Title Insurance, Washington First Bank, Louis Aqua Tech, PenFed Credit Union, Churchill Mortgage Corp., The Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation, Champion Way Foundation, Potomac Mortgage Group, Fair Oaks Skin Care, Aspect Software, ADP, American Relocation Connection, 1st American Title, Destination Cellars and Chariots for Hire and many other local businesses.

"The melanoma community has meaningful research advances to celebrate this year and what better way to do that than to enjoy an evening of champagne, music and good food for a good cause," said Timothy J. Turnham, executive director for the MRF.  "With community support through events like the Wings of Hope Gala, the research community is poised to discover treatments that will have a long-term impact on survival.  Those advances would not happen without this kind of support."

In addition to the Wilkinsons, the MacDonald family will be joined by the Reilly family and Michael Esposito in hosting the event. 

To purchase tickets and learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit

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, more than 70,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2011, resulting in 8,790 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

About Wings of Hope
For the past three years, the Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation has hosted the Wings of Hope Gala.  Inspired by the MacDonald family's desire to memorialize a wife and mother, this annual event raises awareness and much needed funding for melanoma research.  This enormously popular reception, attended by hundreds of professionals from the D.C. metro area, features a silent auction, exquisite food and live music.

SOURCE Melanoma Research Foundation
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