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Local family looks to give back to the city and community with a donated sun shade

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: COURTNEY TIMM - Walkers march around Sandelie West Nine Golf Course last year in the first annual Beths Walk For Melanoma. This years event is set for June 7. They’ve got an entire year under their collective belts, and it’s about time to start branching out.

“I feel like last year was more about memorializing my mom and celebrating her life,” said Courtney Timm, who along with her brother Justin will be holding their second annual Beth’s Walk For Melanoma fundraiser this coming weekend. “It’s always going to have the memorial piece about my mom, because there’s no way I’d be doing this otherwise, but this year there’s definitely more on the education and awareness piece of it.”

Named in honor of Beth Timm, who died two years ago from melanoma, the Walk is held at the Sandelie West Nine Golf Course, located off Advance Road just outside Wilsonville, where Beth regularly enjoyed walking the links with friends. This year’s event will start at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Registration is $30 for adults, $20 for youth 12-18 and free for those 12 and under. Pre-registration at bethswalk.com is strongly encouraged, although day-of-event registration still will be possible.

“Mom passed away last June,” Justin Timm said last year prior to the inaugural Walk. “That was her second bout with melanoma skin cancer. She’d gone through a year of treatment two years before that when she first was diagnosed with melanoma. We were trying to come up with a way to honor her memory in way that included something she was passionate about.”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: COURTNEY TIMM - Courtney and Justin Timm are shown at last years Beths Walk. Both will reprise their roles in this years Walk.The response a year ago — the Walk raised more than $24,000 via donations and auction proceeds — led the Timm family to set their sights higher this year, although the primary recipient of those funds, the city of Wilsonville, remains unchanged. Justin Timm will once again serve as auctioneer, something he does professionally, while any and all donations are also welcome.

Like last year, money raised will be funneled to the city of Wilsonville for use in constructing a large sun shelter at Murase Plaza. Intended as part of the children’s play area, the project was eventually wrapped into a larger overhaul of the playground and has yet to be completed. This, however, is allowing event organizers to re-channel their efforts in that direction.

“I drive past the park every day and I just see all the kids out playing in the sun,” Courtney Timm said. “With my mom, her doctors think (her melanoma) was from childhood and young age. Just seeing these kids running around and not being able to seek any shade or refuge, my goal is to provide the community with the place where they’re not damaging their skin and having potentially life-threatening repercussions. I just want to see the kids have a safe place to go.”

The need in Oregon for further education about melanoma is acute, she added. The state currently has the fifth-highest rate of melanoma cases per capita in the entire United States. Despite popular complaints about the state’s long, grey winters, it may be that constant cloud cover has lulled locals into a sense of complacency, Timm said.

“It kind of clues people in a little bit because people think of us being a rainy, grey state,” she said.

In fact, melanoma is currently one of the most common types of cancer in Oregon among young people. It is the leading cancer among adults aged 25-29 and the second most common in the 15-29 age bracket, according to research done at Oregon Health and Science University, which is currently engaged in a research-intensive “War on Melanoma” project. The project aims to track melanoma cases in Oregon as well as urge people to undergo regular checkups.

Early detection is key, said Courtney Timm. In her mother’s case, that didn’t happen, with an all-too-common outcome.

“If it’s caught early there’s a high curability rate,” she said. “And if it’s late, it’s one of those things where it’s pretty deadly, and that was the case with my mom; it was caught too late and there was nothing they could do to help her.”

It might be too late for Beth, but it’s not too late to prevent others from suffering the same fate. And that’s what the Walk is all about.

“If we could match what we made last year, I think we’ll be totally covered with the money we need,” Courtney Timm said. “And if we exceed our goal, we can find other ways to either bring in more educational programs for our school district, or, as much as I can, keep this money to benefit this community. For now, it’s all about Wilsonville for me.”

Web: bethswalk.com.

By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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