Surfers, scientists and survivors will come together to support the fight against cancer at the annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational, set for Sunday, Aug. 21 at the beach near Scripps Pier in La Jolla. The University of California San Diego fundraiser features a friendly competition, which draws surf legends from around the world, followed by a festive luau. All proceeds benefit research and patient care at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health.
“As a two-time cancer survivor, this event is very near and dear to my heart,” said Tyler Callaway, director of business development for Surf Hardware International and co-chair of the 2016 Luau. Callaway, a four-time national surfing champion, has been involved with the Luau since its inception. After being treated for melanoma in 1983, while in his 20s, he helped design and run the surf contest for the inaugural fundraiser. Then in 2012, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
“Again I was under the knife with doctors trying to save my life,” he said. “I know that feeling of loneliness and uncertainty, that faraway look in other patients. That’s why we’re here: to raise money to support the research that saves lives.”
Callaway was successfully treated at Moores Cancer Center. Recognized for achievements in science, clinical care, education and community contributions, Moores Cancer Center is one of just 45 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only one in the San Diego region.
“With clinical trials in immunotherapy to treat patients with all stages of disease, including melanoma and head and neck cancers, our team is creating, testing and administering cutting-edge therapies for cancer,” said Scott M. Lippman, MD, director of Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. “With support from the Moores Cancer Center Luau, we can continue to move therapies from the bench to the bedside to provide our patients with the latest treatments and excellence in patient care.”
In addition to raising funds, the Luau celebrates the advances made in cancer research and patient care, and recognizes individuals who have contributed to the progress—such as businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. A supporter of regenerative medicine, Sanford has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego where, in partnership with Moores Cancer Center, researchers are investigating stem-cell derived treatments for certain types of cancer.
Sanford will be presented with the Rell Sun Award during the Luau, an award given annually in memory of Hawaiian surfer and longtime Luau supporter Rell Kapolioka’ehukai Sunn, who lost her battle with breast cancer.
Co-chairing the event with Callaway is La Jolla native Jon Roseman, who operates the legendary Tavarua Island Resort in Fiji. Bob Hurley, founder and chairman of the clothing brand Hurley, is the honorary chair. This year, Celgene is supporting the event as the title sponsor.
“Celgene has been a part of the San Diego community for more than 16 years and we are honored to be a long-time participant in the Luau and Legends of Surfing event as well,” said Ho Cho, vice president of biotherapeutics at Celgene. “The critical research that this event supports mirrors our own commitment to patients living with cancer.”
The Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational kicks off at 7 a.m., at the beach near Scripps Pier in La Jolla, where teams of four will be paired with a surf legend for a friendly competition. The luau follows at noon with musical entertainment, a tropical buffet, and live and silent auctions featuring surf-inspired artwork, unique surfboards and vacation packages.
The surfing competition is free for spectators; tickets to the luau fundraiser are $200 per person. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, team entries, tickets and event activities, call (858) 5822-5630 or visit the event website at luauandlegendsofsurfing.org. More information on Moores Cancer Center can be found at cancer.ucsd.edu.