A lovely blond with a year-round tan from summers as a lifeguard, Glenna Kohl stood out in her Cape Cod hometown, Marstons Mills, for her charisma as well as her beauty.
Diagnosed at age 22 with advanced melanoma, Glenna also became known for her tenacity. While enduring arduous clinical trials, she vigorously promoted early detection and prevention of melanoma.
In 2008, Glenna lost her battle with melanoma. But her grief-stricken parents, Robert and Colleen Kohl, relatives and friends created the Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope to carry on Glenna’s work. Forming a committee, they also created the annual Angel’s Masquerade Ball. The high-spirited party honors Glenna and raises funds for the melanoma research of Donald Lawrence, MD, clinical director of the Center for Melanoma at Mass General.
Faced with unbearable loss, we’re continuing what Glenna set out to do: save lives. Melanoma is easy to prevent—but people die from it every day.
“Glenna loved parties and dressing up,” says Glenna’s mother, Colleen Kohl. “Her birthday is in October and we hold the ball near Halloween, a favorite family holiday.” The first, in 2009, drew 400 people to a seaside mansion at Glenna’s alma mater, Salve Regina University in Newport. “It was a magical evening,” Colleen recalls.
Since then, the group has held the party at the Ridge Club, in Sandwich. The evening features a silent auction and a speech by Dr. Lawrence. Over three years, the ball has raised $90,000 for his melanoma research. Last year, the group also began hosting a 3.7 mile road race that funds lifeguard tower canopies and free sunscreen dispensers at local beaches.
“We’re allowing Glenna to work through us,” says Colleen. “Nothing is better for a mother than to let her child live on.”