Friday, April 13, 2007

In Memoriam - Charlie Guild

Periodically, I will highlight an individual who valiantly battled skin cancer and pay tribute to them.

Today, I would like to pay tribute to Charlie Guild.

She would have celebrated her 30th birthday last week. And since a good friend, Margaret Merrill (see "It's a Small World After all") just turned 30, my thoughts have been centered on Charlie.

Born Carolyn Guild, Charlie was a vibrant, intelligent young woman; a graduate of Brown University, she was preparing to attend medical school when she was diagnosed with advanced malignant melanoma--the deadliest form of skin cancer. Eight months after her diagnosis, Charlie passed away. She was just 25-years-old.

Charlie's mother, Valerie Guild, is the founder of the Charlie Guild Melanoma Foundation in California. She is leading this crusade and making incredible strides. Valerie is a tireless champion for the cause; fighting to make sure that melanoma, which is claiming more women in their 20s, is being properly prevented, detected, and treated.

"When this war was over, Charlie intended to go out and do something about this disease, but Charlie didn't get that chance. She didn't leave me with much of a choice," Valerie said. "There's this misconception that melanoma happens to sunbathers or people who go to tanning salons a lot. That's not to say that it doesn't happens to them, but one sunburn between ages 0-to-18 is enough to increase your chances of getting it by 100% [...] it's not a nice disease."

Valerie has been instrumental in securing legislation for indoor tanning regulations, and is working tenaciously on creating tissue banks with various melanoma research clinics such as the Tom C. Mathews Jr. Familial Melanoma Research Clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

"Last year AIDS research got $6 billion and melanoma got $40 million from the government. There really is almost no money out there for melanoma research, and one of the problems is when you don't have research money, you don't tend to attract researchers," Valerie said. "I've asked them if they can present this issue in front of [the government], because these kids are at risk."

You can read more about Valerie's efforts, in memory of her 25-year-old daughter Charlie whom she lost to melanoma, in the newly released book entitled ONLY SKIN DEEP?

Help us protect other young people, like Charlie, by supporting skin cancer prevention education and research efforts.

Wishing you abundant health,

The Cancer Crusaders Organization
PO BOX 2076 Provo, Utah 84603

* Photo is courtesy of the Charlie Guild Melanoma Foundation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Charlie is an amazing woman and was my best friend as a child. As children do, we grew up and apart. I miss her terribly. I didnt know she had passed until I googled her name today and found your site. I am thankful for what you have written but feel as if I have lost a piece of my heart in reading this. I miss you charlie. I am sorry I let time slip past.