As a V Foundation MVP, Guy T Phillips Honors His Wife

After cancer took the love of his life far too soon, Guy T Phillips honors his wife, Janet, by donating monthly toward game-changing cancer research.

As a photographer, Guy T Phillips captures beauty. To him, the most beautiful things he’d ever seen were the bright blue eyes of his much better half, Janet.

He cherishes the many photographs and all the memories they had together. Even during hard times, there was growth and bonding. And now, he’s honoring her memory as a V Foundation MVP.

“I was watching a college basketball tournament when they went to commercial break.” Guy T said. “They showed those little snippets of Jim’s speech, and I saw [Dick] Vitale talking about it and all the other coaches … I thought, ‘That’s the right one. That’s the one I should donate to, and I just hope that what I do on Janet’s behalf makes a difference.’”

In the fall of 2021, Guy T and Janet were vacationing in Hot Springs, Arkansas, when Janet suddenly didn’t feel well. When they got back to the hotel, she slept it off and felt a little better, but they returned home early. A few days later, Janet was getting a haircut and her hairdresser noticed something on the crown of her head where her hair parted. It was an oblong lump, about the size of a small pinky finger.

Janet quickly made an appointment at the dermatologist, who immediately referred her to a specialist. They identified the abnormality as melanoma.

Her medical team surgically removed the spot of melanoma. It took several months of rehab to recover, but Janet and Guy T had an exact routine to clean it every day. Even after being married for 37 years, they grew closer during this time.

Following her recovery, Janet received a couple of clean bills of health in her post-op appointments but didn’t get an MRI because of feeling claustrophobic in the machine.

Fast forward to April 2022, Janet’s 60th birthday was approaching, and she had a girls’ trip planned to Puerto Vallarta. They had a great time on the trip, but the night before her birthday Janet tripped and fell in the lobby of the resort. Looking back, that was the first of a series of blackouts.

Janet had more blood work done, and after she blacked out two more times, Guy T convinced her to have an MRI.

The results of a subsequent brain biopsy were not what they hoped for, but explained a lot. Janet was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, and the cancer had already spread to two lobes.

Unfortunately, the next phase was a period of waiting. Chemotherapy and radiation were on hold while they waited for the area in her skull to heal from the biopsy.

Eventually, the medical team had another MRI scan to check before treatment could begin.

“The first MRI had shown the glioblastoma while it was in two different lobes already; it looked like it was stars in the sky,” Guy said. “When they finally gave us approval to do the second round, it looked like clouds. It had taken over that quickly.”

Janet’s condition deteriorated quickly – from forgetfulness to the inability to move her legs. Guy T stepped into the caretaker role and did everything he could for her.

While she was hospitalized, he asked her to make quick videos telling family members that she loved them. She also wrote one note. The handwritten words of that note, “Love You!” are now tattooed on Guy T’s wrist and his daughter’s arm.

The cancer was aggressive, and when they realized it was not responding to treatments, they returned home to spend their final weeks together. Their community supported them while they spent time together reminiscing over pictures and memories. They listened to her favorite music, watched her favorite movies (Janet was a big fan of Johnny Depp), and cherished the time they had.

Janet passed away on June 20, 2022.

Now, there are many ways Guy T honors and remembers her, but three stand out. One is right outside his doorstep, across the street from his home. There’s a tree there, on a path that they commonly walked by, planted in Janet’s memory. There’s a plaque on the ground with a saying on it, and Guy T frequently visits this spot.

Second, there is a brick in Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas, with the same saying on it. Zilker Botanical Garden is where they were married almost 40 years ago. Guy T returned to the site on April 10, 2024, on what would have been Janet’s 62nd birthday.

Lastly, Guy T chose to honor Janet by becoming a V Foundation MVP and donating monthly to cutting-edge cancer research. Knowing the crucial importance of research, he looked into the V Foundation and was reassured by the fact that 100% of direct donations go to cancer research, with an endowment covering operating expenses. It was Guy T’s way to honor Janet, and he hopes to make a difference for others in her memory.

“That’s the best part of it,” Guy T said. “She would very much appreciate this, especially if it makes a difference – if somebody else sees it and takes an action that they wouldn’t have taken.”

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