Metro Detroit 5k run/walk honors friend who died from Melanoma

A friendship, a death and a promise to help others -- the KDB Melanoma Run is more than just a 5k run.

MILFORD, Mich. – A friendship, a death and a promise to help others -- the KDB Melanoma Run is more than just a 5k run.

Kathy Bowers loved the outdoors, the fresh air and the sun, but that love would ultimately bring her death. Her best friend, Tricia Edwards, said she felt helpless when Bowers was diagnosed with melanoma.

She decided to find a way to educate more people about melanoma, so she created the KDB Melanoma Walk. Bowers would die about a year after she was diagnosed, but that didn’t stop Edwards from helping others.

“It was therapeutic,” Edwards said. “It gave me some purpose.”

Each year, the 5k walk/run would grow in attendance and dollars donated for melanoma research -- more than $630,000 has been raised since it began. The goal is to help find a cure and, along the way, provide a support system for families battling melanoma.

Jason Cavanaugh’s wife Amanda was diagnosed with melanoma in 2009 after finding a mole on her foot. The mole was removed, but four years later the cancer came back.

The Cavanaughs and their support team show up every year for the KDB Melanoma Run and have raised more than six figures.

Amanda spent years in clinical trials, hoping she would beat it, but things took a turn.

“We entered home hospice care,” Jason Cavanaugh said. “That was about 16 weeks ago. We are wading through very deep waters right now.”

The family continues to pray for a miracle and in the meantime, continue to try to prevent it from happening to other families.

Due to COVID-19, races like this can’t occur, so this year, the KDB Melanoma Run is going virtual. Edwards and the Cavanaughs are hoping people will still turn out, still donate and still bring awareness to how serious melanoma really is.

The run takes place Oct. 11, but registration is ending soon. You can run, walk, rollerblade -- what ever you like -- and show your support.

For more information, to register or to donate, click here. More information can be found on the official website here.

Related: Don’t ignore other health issues while trying to stay safe from coronavirus (COVID-19)

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.