Dr. Ellie Guardino is honored in "Her Reminder," a song by Leila Milki, commissioned by former patient Lena Tailo

Leila Milki writes: This is a tribute to Dr. Ellie Guardino, and her everlasting impact on those whose hearts she has touched throughout the years… a “thank you” from her former patient, Lena Tailo, which I was honored to bring to life through music.

In the opening verse, I was tasked with the humbling goal of capturing the unimaginable fear a woman must confront in her most vulnerable moments: when her world is turned upside down in the face of a life-altering diagnosis. Lena’s voice is initially one of profound anticipation and despair, but is soon met with the calming, angelic presence of Dr. Guardino… who led by example with her devotion to hope, faith, and light “through every storm.”

The verses evolve to include the voices of multiple women, whose fears give way to solidarity, strength, and gratitude for their beloved Dr. Guardino’s gentle yet powerful encouragement… and her unyielding commitment to finding solutions, as she poured herself into her work until her final hours.

As someone who battled melanoma herself, Dr. Guardino carried a unique capacity for empathy, with the poignant ability to care for her patients as both a remarkable physician, and loving friend. I felt her lasting message was embodied in these beautiful words she shared: “If you worry about tomorrow, you lose today”… which quickly became the inspiration behind the music and lyrics.

Each of us involved in this project has been deeply moved by Ellie’s story and her stunning ripple effects on the community. We couldn't help but smile as we experienced her unending reminder, lighting the way in real time.

Executive Produced by Leila Milki
Directed, Filmed, and Edited by Avi Richards at RoundBox Creative Studios
1st Assistant Camera: Riley Donavan
String Quartet Contracted by Karoline Menezes Piano and Vocal Performance by Leila Milki
Violin 1 - Nicole Garcia
Violin 2 - Juliette Jones
Viola - Karoline Menezes
Cello - Judy Kang
Hair & Makeup by Julie Grace
Shot at Astroetic Studios, Los Angeles

Music & Lyrics written by Leila Milki
Recording produced by Leila Milki
Piano & Vocals arranged/performed by Leila Milki
Strings arranged by Brian Steckler
String Quartet contracted by Karoline Menezes
Strings performed by Stephanie Yu (Violin 1), Juliette Jones (Violin 2), Karoline Menezes (Viola), and Judy Kang (Cello)
Lead Vocal and Strings engineered by Sam Brawner at Blue Dream Studios, Los Angeles
Piano and Background Vocals engineered by Leila Milki
Track Mixed and Mastered by Brian Steckler

If you would like to honor Dr. Guardino's life and legacy, please consider giving to strengthen the cancer and melanoma research that she pioneered and supported.

Under One Umbrella

Learn more about the annual Stanford Women's Cancer Center's event that Dr. Guardino supported and that honored her achievements as a special guest.