Fund History

Bill, Kathy, and their children Austin and Katherine moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in March 1998 when Bill's company transferred him from Loveland, Colorado. Despite battling melanoma and undergoing lung and brain surgeries, Bill continued to work when his health allowed. His high school friends in Daytona Beach rallied around him, offering support and companionship.

As Bill's condition worsened, his best friend Tim Richardson felt helpless. During a visit to Daytona in June 1998, Tim had an epiphany while walking on the beach. Inspired by a running event he witnessed, Tim decided to organize a walk/run in Bill's name to raise funds for melanoma research.

Remarkably, the first Annual Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund 5K walk/run took place on August 15, 1998, in Ormond Beach, FL. Bill attended, using a beach wheelchair provided by Volusia County Beach Services. He was amazed to see 100 participants supporting the cause. When Tim asked Bill where he'd like the funds to go if the event grew, Bill expressed his wish to help other melanoma patients with travel expenses for treatments and trials, and to support research for a cure.

The event, now named "RayZ Awareness," has indeed flourished. Our most recent race attracted nearly 500 runners and walkers. Over the years, RayZ Awareness and skin care protection events have been held in Fort Collins, CO, as well. Since 1998, we've raised over $500,000 to assist melanoma patients and fund research.

As a non-profit organization, we operate entirely through volunteer efforts, there are no paid employees. Every dollar raised goes directly to research, education, or patient assistance. To date, we've donated over $20,000 to melanoma patients and invested more than $200,000 in research. Our fund has previously partnered with the national Melanoma Research Foundation, facilitating groundbreaking collaborations among melanoma researchers. This partnership led to the First Melanoma Research Congress in Philadelphia in June 2003.

The Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund continues to honor Bill's memory by furthering his vision of supporting patients and advancing research towards a cure for melanoma.

Board Members

  • Tim Richardson, Founder and President (friend of Bill since Junior High School)
  • Bill Walter, Sr., PhD Vice President (father of Bill)
  • Roger Scott, DDS Treasurer (friend of Bill since high school)
  • Doug Denison, DDS Secretary (friend of Bill since 1st grade)
  • Sheila Harlacher, Event Coordinator (friend of Bill since 1st grade)
  • Kathy Walter, Event Coordinator (Bill's widow)

Advisors to the Board

  • John Walsh, M.D. Dermatologist
  • John Long, M.D. Dermatologist
  • Jeff Parks, M.D. Dermatologist
  • Jeffrey Heller, DO Dermatologist
  • Donna Hiatt (RayZ Awareness Race Director)
  • John and Bonnie Hosey
  • Kim Gingris
  • James Jordan (Webmaster)

Past Events

RayZ Awareness 2015
RayZ Awareness 2016
RayZ Awareness 2017

RayZ Awareness 5K Run/Walk

The Fund through years has hosted an annual 5k Run/Walk in both Daytona Beach, FL and Fort Collins, CO. The last RayZ Awareness Race was in 2017 and you can read more about that special day on the Ormond Beach Observer website.

Our Sponsors

The Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund has had countless sponsors and supporters since its inception in 1998. We appreciate each and ever one of you no matter how large or small your contribution!

Contact Us

Please use the form below if you would like to learn more about the Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund or would like to leave us a note. We will try our best to get back with you in a timely manner. Thank you for your interest and support!