La Jolla Colleagues Ride Waves for Cancer Research
For the fourth consecutive year, Pfizer colleagues in San Diego took to the waves as part of the company's title sponsorship of the "Luau & Longboard Invitational." Now in its 18th year, the surfing event helps generate funds for cancer research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center while also raising cancer awareness in the community.
"We were proud to support and participate in the Luau & Longboard Invitational again this year," said Bhasker Shetty, site head for Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics and Metabolism, and site director of Pfizer La Jolla. "We are also proud to have the opportunity to collaborate with local and prominent research facilities like UC San Diego in discovering and developing innovative therapies to help fight cancer."
As part of the title sponsorship, Pfizer La Jolla had its own team of surfers that included Polly Murphy, Business Development; Lance Sherwood, CovX; Gabriel Troche, Oncology Research Unit (ORU); and Ryan Kemp, Business Technology. The site also sponsored the Thrivers Team, which is made up of surfers who have successfully fought cancer.
The ORU's Brion Murray served as the captain for the team. "I am impressed with the commitment and engagement of the Pfizer community in making this event a success. In addition to participation at the event, Pfizer La Jolla hosted a Luau organizational meeting for event volunteers which generated excitement by the participants and a greater understanding of the scale of Pfizer's commitment to fighting cancer. Personally, what I take away from the event is the energy I get from seeing the passion our community has for fighting a disease that many of us devote our careers to battling."
At the event, each surfing team included a surfing legend. Pfizer's surfers had a chance to meet and ride the waves with surfing legend Jock Southerland.
Supporting an Important Cause
"This event was a truly beautiful experience," said Troche. "The opportunity to participate with international and local individuals to support such an important cause as raising money for cancer research that directly impacts our community such as the one conducted at our UCSD Moores Cancer Center was very rewarding. I had a great time meeting other surf lovers, enjoyed the 'Aloha spirit' and was very proud to have the opportunity to represent Pfizer."
Murphy described the event as magical. "I get a chance to raise money for a great cause in the local community, while doing something that I love. Being able to watch the world's surfing legends surf together is indescribable."
The funds raised at the Luau & Longboard Invitational  support the mission of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center  to translate promising scientific discoveries into new and better options for those fighting cancer. This year, the Luau and Longboard Invitational raised $420,000, putting the 18-year total for the event at $5.4 million.
"The Luau & Longboard Invitational was a wonderful and inspiring experience. It was a great opportunity to show my support for cancer research while sharing my passion for surfing and the aloha spirit," said Kemp.
Lance Sherwood called the experience amazing. "Sharing our love for surfing and combining our efforts in the pursuit of beating cancer was an honor. I hope to be a part of it again."