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Refusing to lose

Patient’s spirit inspires others to continue her fight

Promise - Fall 2012

Beth DiPardo, left, shared a special bond with friend Jenny Kayano 
during the time they spent working together at Teleflora.

                                                                                     Photo courtesy of Jenny Kayano


By Victor Scott

The Beth Allison DiPardo Memorial Fund has raised more than $38,000 for pediatric brain cancer research at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCH). It’s a shining example of how one company’s matching gifts program, in a relatively short amount of time, can accelerate the power of giving. It honors the memory of a bright young woman whose warm, caring nature was an inspiration to all who knew her. What’s more, it continues her fight against the brain cancer that took her life at age 30.

Beth’s battle began with headaches at age 12.  Tests over several years couldn’t determine a cause.

“We decided a change of environment might help and moved from Mont Belvieu (Texas) to Lamesa, near Midland,” says her father, Larry Allison.

Beth joined the Lamesa High School Lady Tornadoes basketball team. During a game she missed catching a simple pass. Her father knew something was wrong.

More tests revealed astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer. Following surgery in Lubbock, she received six weeks of radiation at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital.  

After treatment, Beth resumed life as a teenager: basketball player, cheerleader, National Honor Society member, community volunteer. To help pay her medical expenses, she worked in a flower shop, where she discovered a passion for floral design.

“Beth had quite a flair and a way of inspiring people,” says her sister, Becky Allison Barton of Marble Falls, Texas. “As beautiful as she was on the outside, she was even more beautiful on the inside.”

After college, Beth began a finance career in Dallas, got married and moved to Los Angeles, landing a job with Teleflora, one of North America’s largest floral companies. In 2004, the couple returned to Dallas, where Beth continued to work for Teleflora.

That September, Beth’s childhood enemy returned.  She began treatment at MD Anderson and, despite an arsenal of chemotherapy, died in January 2006 at home, surrounded by family.  

Teleflora employees, led by friend and former co-worker Jenny Kayano of Los Angeles, established the Beth Allison DiPardo Memorial Fund in her memory. Roll Global, Teleflora’s parent company, has added the fund to its matching gifts program.

“Roll Global’s matching gifts program is one part of our broader commitment to giving back to the communities where we work and where our employees live,” says Jessica Aronoff, vice president of philanthropy at Roll Global. “We match our employees’ donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $1,000 per year.”

Learn about MD Anderson’s matching gifts program: mdanderson.org/gifts/ways-of-giving.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center