The 17th Annual Rod’s Day, a grassroots event to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Rod Fasone, will feature a skydiving jump by Bill Heskamp and friends and a Hawaiian theme party at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, July 11th at Mo’s Place, 203 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey.

The event includes a raffle and silent auction. All proceeds will benefit the California Oncology Research Institute (CORI). A free buffet will be offered at 8 p.m. for donors.

For 17 years, Rod’s Day has been held in memory of Fasone, who began his fight against colon cancer in 1990 during his junior year at Indiana University. Though diagnosed as being fatal in 60 days, Fasone’s battle ended in December 1992, an inspirational two years later.

Many of Fasone’s friends from high school and college still participate in Rod’s Day 17 years later, his father Dennis Fasone said.

The event will support Santa Monica-based California Oncology Research Institute, which shares a laboratory facility at the UCLA Medical Center. Alliances have been formed by CORI with researchers in Europe, Australia and Israel, as well as the U.S. Army Medical Corps and other U.S. researchers, all sharing information for a solution to cancer, Dennis Fasone said.

Dr. Anton Bilchik of CORI and co-founder Dr. Richard Essner have been awarded two prestigious five-year grants from the National Cancer Institute and a $1.5 million grant from a private foundation. Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer has also committed to a $1.5 million “matching” grant which will double every dollar raised by Rod’s Day and other donations to CORI, Fasone said.

Early donations are now being accepted. Checks can be made payable to Rod’s Day/CORI, and mailed to: Rod’s Day, 7832 Stewart Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045.