Pictured from left to right are Rick Ploor Memorial founder Debbie Ploor, Larry Martiny and Lynne Martiny.

In September of 2016, Brandon resident Rick Ploor was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma. He became a patient at the Moffitt Cancer Center McKinley Campus and went through various treatments, such as immunotherapy, clinical trials, five surgeries and radiation treatment. Debbie Ploor, Rick’s wife of 45 years, credits Moffitt with the quality of life Rick was able to have, living for an additional six and half years past diagnosis. Sadly, Rick passed away on May 23, 2023. After Rick’s passing, Debbie formed the Rick Ploor Memorial nonprofit to raise money for Moffitt’s Oncology Department to help further research, trials and melanoma awareness.

As part of this effort to raise money for Moffitt Cancer Center’s Oncology research, on April 8 the nonprofit Rick Ploor Memorial hosted its inaugural Rick Ploor Memorial Golf Tournament at River Hills Country Club in Valrico. The tournament began at 7 a.m. and concluded around 1:30 p.m. Since the total solar eclipse also occurred on April 8, the tournament included eclipse glasses in its gift bags so participants could enjoy the eclipse outside as well.

Family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances flew in from all over the United States to take part in the fundraiser, because of their love for and appreciation of Rick. One hundred and twenty-eight golfers participated in the golf tournament, and there were 25 volunteers. This charity event ended up raising over $55,000. Since mostly everything was donated, including time and prizes, 100 percent of the donations will go directly to Moffitt. Debbie plans to host this event annually.

Debbie stated of this fundraiser and her husband, “For Rick to survive as long as he did is a testament to Moffitt and to his courage and will to live. I held this memorial golf event to benefit Moffitt Cancer Center’s Melanoma Research. The money raised will go specifically to melanoma research projects his doctor (Dr. Nikhil Khushalani) oversees and an awareness program for early detection run by Rick’s ARPN (Gina Corsanico) who cared for him for over six years. … There is currently no cure for melanoma that has metastasized.”

All profits will go to Moffitt’s Cutaneous Department for Melanoma Research and Awareness programs, specifically to Dr. Khushalani’s department. For more information or to donate to the Rick Ploor Memorial, contact Debbie at rickploormemorial@gmail.com.

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Ashley Abene
Ashley Abene has written for the Osprey Observer since 2023. She has a master’s degree in writing and literature and a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from the University of South Florida. She has taught college-level writing and literature at USF and Southeastern University for over nine years. She’s a blogger at Peace Filled Family and enjoys writing children’s books. She’s also a mom to three kids, and her husband has been serving in the military for over 20 years.