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The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund: Finding a purpose

Former Deloitte partner leaves legacy of awareness and education

When Deloitte partner David Cornfield died in late 2005 after a three-year battle with melanoma, his colleagues were determined to use his story as a way to help others avoid this deadly disease. Together with David’s family and friends, they formed the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund (DCMF), whose mission is “to reduce the incidence of melanoma via prevention and early self-detection, as well as to improve the prognosis of melanoma via education and research into the disease.”

“During his illness, David would tell us that he really wanted us to get the message out about melanoma, and to let people know how preventable it is if they take the proper precautions,” says Deloitte partner Frank Vettese, who was once a mentor to David during his career at Deloitte and who co-chairs the fund with Sari Cornfield. “He didn’t want anyone to go through what he went through.”

Launched in 2007, DCMF’s goal was to develop and distribute educational materials to young people and their caregivers across the GTA and to teach prevention and early detection. Recognizing the incredible power of social media, foundation members hit on the idea of producing a video aimed at young people and posting it on YouTube. Entitled “Dear 16-year-old me,” the video features a series of melanoma survivors – as well as family members and friends, including Sari, of some people who didn't survive – telling the viewer about their experiences and what can be done to prevent skin cancer.

The video was uploaded to YouTube in May 2011 – Cancer Awareness Month. The response was nothing short of overwhelming. People from all over the world watched it and shared their stories. Supermodel Cindy Crawford tweeted about it.

A year later, “Dear 16 year old me” has become a viral sensation. Viewed by more than 5.75 million people, the video recently became the recipient of two prestigious Webby Awards.

In May 2012, the DCMF held a fundraising gala at Toronto’s Liberty Grand to further spread the word. For Sari, David’s family, his friends and his colleagues, it was important to find purpose in David’s death – to share the kind of passion and caring he had for others. In the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, they have found that purpose.

Watch the video and learn about the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund.

Visit DCMF on Facebook.

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