Real Life

Shawn Elsmore: ‘I miss Charlie every day’

Grieving dad Shawn shares a special tribute to his courageous late partner, Charlie Nicholson
Shawn Elsmore, Charlie Nicholson

Her courageous battle with late-stage Melanoma made headlines, but it was Charlie Nicholson who captured our hearts.

The Gisborne mummy-to-be was six months pregnant when she was diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually take her life and rob Charlie of a lifetime of happiness with her husband and adorable baby boy Ryder.

Sadly, mere weeks after her first born son’s premature arrival, Charlie passed away on Valentine’s Day 2016. Until now, her grieving hubby Shawn Elsmore has been too devastated to talk, but in light of March’s melanoma awareness month he has decided to share his story.

Shawn and Charlie tied the knot at the hospital chapel.

Speaking exclusively to Woman’s Day, Shawn says, “I miss Charlie every day but in Ryder she left me a piece of her forever.”

When Charlie received her crushing diagnosis, doctors feared the cancer could affect her unborn baby. They waited until Ryder was strong enough, then delivered him by Caesarean at 31 weeks. In the weeks that followed his birth the new mum received treatment, but her health rapidly declined and passed away at age 38.

Of his late wife, the single father says, “She was a beautiful free spirit and a happy soul.”

For the full story of love and loss, read this week’s Woman’s Day.

Melanoma: The facts

• New Zealand has the highest incidence rate of melanoma in the world.

• Every year, the disease claims the lives of over 300 Kiwis, with more than 4500 cases diagnosed annually.

• Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and early detection is essential in order to cure it. Don’t leave it too late to get that suspicious mole checked.

• Don’t get cooked in the sun – getting burnt once is all it takes. Slip, slop, slap and wrap!

• This month is Melanoma March, held to remind Kiwis of the prevalence of melanoma and the importance of staying vigilant when it comes to their skin.

• For information or to help Melanoma New Zealand save lives with a donation, visit

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