2000 Rell Sunn Award Winner
Charles F. Gorder, Sr.

UCSD Cancer Center Foundation 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0658
CONTACT: UCSD Cancer Center Foundation (619) 822-0022

Charles F. "Chuck" Gorder, Sr. is an attorney, father, grandfather and a world-class giver. Chuck has been a loyal supporter of the UCSD Cancer Center since 1993. The events in Chuck's life that defined his commitment to the battle against cancer illustrate his generosity of spirit, boundless energy, and unwavering faith in the promise of medical research.

Chuck is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. After receiving his commission, he studied law at George Washington University and earned his J.D. in 1955. That same year, Chuck's second son, Bruce, was born. The Gorder clan eventually included two other brothers and a sister. The family settled in San Diego, where Bruce graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 1973. Bruce went on to study at Stanford, where in 1983, he was diagnosed with melanoma. His cancer went into remission after surgery and chemotherapy, by returned in 1990. By this time, Chuck had become acquainted with the work of Dr. Ed McClay at UCSD's Cancer Center and he consulted Dr. McClay regarding Bruce's condition. With Dr. McClay's help, Bruce's tumors shrank, but sadly, the effects were temporary and Bruce lost his battle with melanoma in October of 1992. At the time of his death, Bruce was a 37-year-old husband and father of a beautiful little girl named Gabrielle.

In honor of his son, Chuck founded the Bruce Brunner Gorder Memorial Melanoma Walk-a-thon. The main purposes of this annual event are to honor his son's memory, raise funds in support of melanoma research, and educate the public about the most frequent form of cancer. Originally, the event was held in Massachusetts where Bruce's wife and daughter lived. After four years the event was moved to San Diego and, this past May, the 7th Annual Walk-a-thon raised over $65,000. Chuck himself has matched the first $25,000 raised by each year's walk, and through his tireless efforts and personal generosity, over $250,000 has been raised for research and education. Chuck has also reached out to friends and family with his powers of friendly persuasion and raised an additional $100,000 to combat melanoma.

Chuck's support of UCSD includes his involvement since 1993 with the Cancer Center Foundation Board where he served two terms as President of the Foundation Board of Directors. Chuck's activities recently expanded to include the formation of a Melanoma Focus Group to help educate the public about the risks of sun exposure and melanoma. This Focus Group also serves to bring attention to the melanoma reserach program of Dr. Ed McClay.

Chuck's latest mission centers on the prevention of melanoma in young people, and is one that means the world to this caring father and grandfather. The energy and optimism which infuse Chuck's life have greatly benefitted UCSD's Melanoma Research Program and will one day aid all of us who love life outdoors. Those of us who have the privilege of knowing Chuck have basked in his aloha spirit, while countless others will unknowingly benefit from his efforts.

When Chuck slows down to relax, he and his wife, Rhona, enjoy watching their grandchildren's athletic endeavors including soccer, little league, and Irish dancing. And, oh yeah, he loves his Padres.....

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