Taking a shot on Melanoma

June is a particularly tough time of year for the friends and family of Owen Schlosser.

The beloved University of Alberta student and elite athlete was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and passed away four months after his diagnosis, just shy of his 22nd birthday on June 2, 2009. Almost four years to the day of Owen’s passing, more than 125 people on 28 teams gathered at Brookside Community Hall on a sunny Saturday to lather themselves in sunscreen and play in the ultimate 3 on 3 road hockey tournament: Win4Skin. The annual fundraiser supporting the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Owen Schlosser Endowment Fund for Underprivileged Athletes challenges teams to not only rise to the sporting challenge, but the fundraising challenge too. The players, many of whom are Owen’s closest family members and friends, were even joined by former Edmonton Oiler Fernando Pisani who played on the Quikard Crushers team.

Win4SkinThe Quikard Crushers team

Win4Skin is the brainchild of one of Owen’s close friends, David Chapman. The Cross Cancer Institute Surgical Oncology Laboratory Manager and newly admitted University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine student was inspired to organize an annual event that would honour Owen’s love of sports, bring together those who were touched by him and help others at the same time. A 3 on 3 hockey tournament called Win4Skin seemed like the perfect fit and debuted in 2010.  From 2010-2012, the tournament and its accompanying banquet raised an incredible $137,734.52. This year, the organizing committee set a lofty goal of $80,000 for their fourth edition of Win4Skin.

Funds raised by Win4Skin for the Alberta Cancer Foundation are directed towards the Mary Johnston Chair in Melanoma Research at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. A barbecue, silent and live auctions and an evening banquet rounded out Win4Skin 2013 and gave those close to Owen an opportunity to celebrate his life. Silent and live auction items included tons of signed NHL memorabilia, wine, gift certificates, craft beers and much more! Master of ceremonies, prominent Edmonton businessman Lyle Best, spoke about his own experience with melanoma—he recently lost his wife to the disease and is currently undergoing treatment for melanoma. The Mary Johnston Chair in Melanoma Research, Dr. Alan Underhill, personally thanked the 260 banquet attendees for their help in promising progress in leading-edge melanoma research, treatment, prevention and care programs right here at home.

“Melanoma is a frustrating cancer to treat. We have cracked the genetic code for it and two new FDA drugs have been approved. We are making real progress, thanks to your support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation,” said Dr. Underhill.

Due to an overwhelming amount of support, Win4Skin 2013 had an amazing record-breaking year with more than $100,000 raised for the two charities on June 1st. Top fundraiser Talal Shoush took a unique approach to raising over $5,000 by growing his hair for a year and raffling off the chance for someone to choose a new hairstyle for his locks.

On behalf of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, we would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Win4Skin organizing committee (David Chapman, Sue Trigg, Ron Johnston, Mark Boulter and Laura Chapman), donors, players, sponsors and volunteers for a very successful fundraising event. We know that Owen would be very proud to see everyone come together in the name of sport and a cancer-free future.