This week, the Christopher Guillot Memorial Skin Cancer Screening Program partnered with East Jefferson General Hospital to begin screening local high school athletes. The program kicked off this week at John Curtis Christian School as the members of the football team received free skin cancer screens. Dr. I. Ricardo Martinez, EJGH Dermatologist and credentialed physician with the MD Anderson Physicians Network, teamed with the EJGH Oncology Department.
The program is named for Christopher Guillot, who was a senior in high school at John Curtis and was a member of their football team, winning three Louisiana State Football Championships. During his senior year at the age of 17, Christopher was diagnosed with metastatic melonoma. After receiving aggressive medical treatment, Christopher passed away the following March 2010. His parents, Mike Guillot and Lorraine Guillot, started the Christopher Guillot Memorial Foundation to provide education, knowledge, support and to continue research in cancer so that a cure can be found for this deadly disease.
"I think Chris would be thrilled to see that his legacy lives on," says Lorraine. "He was kind, giving and quiet like his dad. He was so ready to go on with his future until he was diagnosed. He fought the disease and never complained. I know he would want others to know the importance of screening and awareness so that their disease could be caught early."
Beginning the program at John Curtis was an important first step. The goal of the program is to expanding by offering skin cancers screening to other area high schools. If detected early, skin cancer can be successfully treated and cured.
"We were so glad to participate, especially after losing Chris last year," says JT Curtis, Head Football Coach. "High school kids don't think they are vulnerable to disease. Programs like this can go a long way towards solving that problem. They need this type of education. We are glad to do this program and hope it is the launching pad for other schools in the area."
Dr. Martinez stressed the importance of screenings to the athletes and gave skin cancer educational material from the American Academy of Dermatology as well as sunscreen to highlight it s importance in prevention. He has also been a proponent of making screenings available to the community and sees a tremendous need to educate youth in particular to the dangers of being in the sun.
"In just a couple hours we were able to screen over 100 kids," says Dr. Martinez. "We can certainly push this program out to other schools, and we accomplished so much in a short time. Screenings like we just performed absolutely saves lives."
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