Dear AIM at Melanoma Community,
It is with profound sadness that I send this email to announce the death of AIM at Melanoma’s Founder & President, Valerie Guild. She died May 21, 2020, of complications from cancer.
It is difficult to put into words the loss for our foundation and for the melanoma research and patient communities.
After she lost her 26-year-old daughter to melanoma and founded what would become AIM at Melanoma, Val became a force—a guiding light—in the melanoma world. When she created the first and only international think tank in melanoma, the International Melanoma Working Group, she brought researchers and their pharmaceutical counterparts together, at the same table, for conversation on how to move the dial on melanoma research. When she launched the AIM at Melanoma website, she gave patients, caregivers, and families the first comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date website on the disease. When she opened the first collaborative fresh-frozen primary tissue bank for melanoma, she gave researchers a critical tool necessary to perform their work. When she helped obtain the first Department of Defense grant for melanoma and skin cancer research in the amount of $4 million, funding that has continued to this day to provide support to the melanoma research community, she helped underscore the need for national research funding. When she worked with lawmakers in nearly every state to attempt to ban indoor tanning for minors, she demonstrated how non-profits and legislative representatives could come together for the public good in the fight against melanoma. Her efforts to end this disease have been relentless.
Government agencies, medical boards, and industry groups routinely sought her thoughts, advice, and presence. She was the voice of the patient—an advocate in the truest sense of the word—untiring and determined.
AIM’s small but mighty (as she called us) staff will continue her work in her memory, with absolute resolve, as she had, to help find the cure for melanoma in our lifetime. Val’s daughter and the Executive Director of AIM, Samantha Guild, will assume the role of President of AIM.
We invite you to visit our Tribute page for Val and leave a message of condolence or share a memory.
AIM at Melanoma Foundation