In 2003, my daughter, Charlie, was living and working in San Francisco, packing 26 hours into each 24-hour day. A recent Brown University graduate with plans to go to medical school, Charlie’s life was full of promise and possibility. From the outside, she appeared healthy and full of life, as most 25 year-olds do.
So her Stage IV melanoma diagnosis was unexpected, to say the least. And although we were told that Stage IV patients lived an average of nine months after diagnosis, we were initially hopeful: If anyone could beat the odds, it was Charlie. She was determined to fight the disease with the same intensity with which she lived.
I learned quickly that there were few resources for melanoma patients and caregivers. Getting the answers and support we needed was difficult, and in some cases, the information simply did not exist. And I also learned that melanoma research lagged behind that of other cancers—a situation I vowed to change.
In November of 2003, nine months after her diagnosis, Charlie succumbed to melanoma. My daughter fought her cancer with grace and humility, courage and dignity.
To honor her and to continue her fight, I established the Charlie Guild Melanoma Foundation, which is now AIM at Melanoma. We have an admittedly ambitious plan: fund groundbreaking research to find the cure for melanoma; advocate for melanoma patients and survivors, and provide information and resources to the melanoma community.
One person dies of melanoma every 54 minutes—that’s over 25 people every day, all year long. For me, these numbers are unacceptable. Defeating the cancer that took my daughter’s life is now my life’s work. Please join me in this fight—together we can find the cure.
Co-Founder & President
AIM at Melanoma