After her husband, Todd Nagel, was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in 2001, "He fought for five years," recalled his wife, Linda. "We traveled the country so that Todd could try different treatments and take part in clinical trials. I believe - as did Todd - that these efforts extended his life." Todd lost his battle in September, 2006, at the age of 42; their son Ryan was just three at the time.
After his death, said Linda, "I wanted to have a day to celebrate him, for people who knew him, and even people who didn't." She added, "I wanted to set a good example for my son. Though I couldn't bring Todd back, I could do something to raise awareness about melanoma, so other people don't have to go through what we did."
Her husband had loved golf - in fact, the Nagels lived on a golf course in the Minneapolis suburb of Shakopee, MN - so a golfing event seemed like the perfect way to honor Todd's memory and raise funds for melanoma research. After speaking with Todd's oncologist, Linda chose The Skin Cancer Foundation to be the recipient of her fundraising efforts, and in September, 2007, the first Todd Nagel Open was held. Today, about 100 people take part in the annual event, and the golf outing, lunch, and silent auction have raised more than $65,000 towards education efforts and melanoma research. In 2011, Linda awarded the first ever Todd Nagel Memorial Award, a $10,000 melanoma research grant. Her commitment has continued with $15,000 grants presented to researchers in 2012 and 2013.
While Linda's fundraising efforts have done so much for raising awareness of melanoma, organizing the event itself has also been enormously gratifying: "Part of my healing process was in the planning," Linda said. "I'm so happy that people continue to support this event and to continue Todd's legacy."