Elliott Hull was 35 when he lost his fight with stage IV metastatic melanoma in 2018.
Elliott Hull was 35 when he lost his fight with stage IV metastatic melanoma in 2018.

The parents of Elliott Hull are striking back against the cancer that took their son, starting a Bowl-A-Noma nonprofit to raise funds to find a cure for melanoma.

The inaugural Bowl-A-Noma bowling tournament hits the lanes from 8-11 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at the West Seattle Bowl, 4505 39th Ave. S.W.

“Elliott was born and raised on Bigelow, and went to John Hay and went to McClure Middle School and went to Garfield,” said Richard Hull, who still lives in that house on Queen Anne with Elliott’s mother, Louise Hathaway.

Hull said Elliott was also a lifeguard at the Queen Anne Pool and beach at Madison Park in his teens.

“He just had a really big community of friends, and it was just a total shock that it happened to him, of all people,” Hull said, quickly adding he knows it can happen to anyone.

Hull didn’t share his son’s fascination with weaponry, he said, but it served Elliott well during a tour in Afghanistan as a sniper. Elliott Hull served four years in the Army, and had been stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana.

“He actually made some really good friends,” Hull said. “We had a military service for him, and then we also had a celebration of life service for him, and a lot of his friends came for that from all over the country.”

Hull came back to the Pacific Northwest, where he became a real estate broker.

He left behind a wife and son when he died — four months after his stage IV metastatic melanoma diagnosis in June 2018.

“He had gone into a dermatologist in October of 2017, because his mother has had all three forms of skin cancer,” Hull said. “Melanoma is actually the worst of the three. It’s the most lethal form of skin cancer.”

Hull said all of his son’s tests came back negative. Then he started having severe headaches last May.

“Initially, he thought it was due to an explosion,” Hull said. “His unit ran into an IED in Afghanistan.”

Elliott Hull found out his skin cancer was regressive, growing into his body; they found 11 tumors in his brain, his father said.

“I knew that I personally would have to do something other than just go back to work,” Hull said.

The Dock sports bar in Fremont hosted a kick-off event for the Bowl-A-Noma nonprofit on April 12. Hull said Elysian Brewing sponsored the event, and Georgetown, Fremont and Coors breweries donated a percentage the bar tab. Tito’s Vodka provided auction items. The Dock promoted the fundraiser during March Madness, Hull said, and the total raised was more than $10,000.

“I grew up bowling,” he said. “Whenever we had a birthday party for me, it was at a bowling alley.”

Bowling is a family activity, Hull said, and there are centers around the country. Since bowling happens indoors, events never get rained out, he added.

The goal is to raise funds primarily for medical research, but also for early educational outreach and to support cancer patients and their families financially and emotionally, Hull said.

“We would like to keep it local,” he said, “but I also want to investigate the team of four women that are being funded by L’Oreal.”

The cosmetics giant has donated millions in melanoma research funding over the years.

“If we find a cure for melanoma, we’ll just move on to the next one,” Hull said of the other cancers with the suffix oma. “Right now, we’re focused on Melanoma, because that’s the cancer that took my son’s life.”

Hull said it would be great if people just showed up to the West Seattle Bowl on May 18. People are asked to send an RSVP to info@bowlanoma.org. A $25 tournament fee covers shoes, two games and a Bowl-A-Noma shirt and lapel pin. The goal is for competitors to find sponsors who will give a certain amount for every strike or a final score of at least 100.

Hull said a rollover accident on Interstate 5 in Olympia in August 2017 left him looking for a purpose.

“My son handed me my purpose, and that’s how I have to look at it,” Hull said. “So, I talked to him about having a charity and his first words were, ‘I don’t want any charity, dad.’”

Hull said he told his son that the nonprofit would support people fighting cancer currently and in the future. He also promised not to use his son’s name in the nonprofit. The logo does include a pin with the initials EHH on it, short for Elliott Hathaway Hull.

Find out more about the nonprofit at bowlanoma.org.