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A bright future for philanthropy

Young donors reflect the heart of giving

Promise - Spring 2013

By Victor Scott

Maggie Miller and Sidney Diamond have never met, but the two girls share a strong bond: grandparents, all from Houston, who have endured cancer.

Maggie Miller, 9, of Houston, daughter of Advance Team member Carrie Miller, hand delivers her $47.46 check to MD Anderson President Ronald DePinho, M.D., in his office. Photo by Erin McCormickMaggie’s grandfather, Roland Chamberlin, died of pancreatic cancer before she was born.  Sidney's grandfather, Alan Gold, died of brain cancer when she was 3. Her grandmother, Carol Gold, is an MD Anderson breast cancer patient.

To help prevent other children from losing loved ones to cancer, both girls are fighting back the best way they know how by helping fund cancer research at MD Anderson.

“My grandfather died of cancer, and I didn’t get to meet him,” says Maggie, 9, of Houston.  “I combined my allowance and money I raised from a lemonade stand and selling portraits I painted.”

She then hand-delivered the $47.46 she raised to MD Anderson’s president, Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., in his office.

“We’re so proud of Maggie,” says her mother, Carrie Miller, a member of MD Anderson’s Advance Team, a volunteer leadership board of community and business leaders who advance the institution’s mission to eliminate cancer.  “We hope her donation inspires other children to think of ways they can raise money to support MD Anderson.”

Sidney Diamond, 13, of Fort Worth, donated the $400 she received at her bat mitzvah to MD Anderson. Photo by Audrey LakerSidney’s mother, Julie Diamond of Fort Worth, reflects on the times her father and daughter spent together.

"Dad loved to take Sidney on strolls through Central Park when we lived in New York,” says Julie.  “He was a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy.”

Now, 10 years after losing her grandfather to cancer, Sidney continues the family’s fight against the disease.

“Our family has a very special connection with MD Anderson because of my parents,” says Julie.  “Sidney feels it as well.”

To honor her grandparents, Sidney donated $400 she received at her bat mitzvah to MD Anderson.

“It makes me feel good to donate to MD Anderson,” says the 13-year-old from Fort Worth.  “I hope the money helps take care of my grandmother and other patients, too.”

Half of Sidney’s donation will support brain cancer research through the Alan Gold Memorial Fund for Brain Cancer Research.  The other half will support breast cancer research through MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program.

“To have such sincere children want to have an impact on the human condition, and to see them set such a great example that giving — no matter how much — matters, that’s what life is all about,” says DePinho.

$7 Donation Honors Breast Cancer Survivor

By Miriam Smith

Michaela Brown included this letter and drawing with her $7 cash donation.Another young Texas girl donated $7 — her lemonade stand earnings — to MD Anderson, but unlike Maggie and Sidney, her desire to end cancer stemmed from outside her family. Michaela Brown, 9, of Angleton, was initially inspired to give after seeing an MD Anderson advertisement on TV.

“I don’t remember what the commercial said, but I saw the people and they looked like they were suffering, and it made me want to help,” Brown recalls.

But after seeing the ad, cancer hit closer to home.

“My favorite teacher, Ms. Glaze, got cancer and went to MD Anderson,” says Brown. “Now she’s back at school.”

Leah Glaze, a fifth-grade teacher at Rancho Isabella Elementary School, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and has undergone treatment ever since.

“I have been lucky enough to continue teaching through all this, which is a true motivator for me,” she says.

Glaze had no idea her battle still had such an impact on her students, even two years after her diagnosis. She says Michaela’s donation makes her feel honored and humbled.

“If my journey can touch just one soul, show just one person there is hope, not just through my illness, but in any situation, then I feel I fulfilled some of my responsibility in life,” she says.

Glaze’s battle motivated Brown to put her plan to give to MD Anderson into action. Before long, she was standing on the sidewalk outside her home with a bucket of lemonade and a sign that read: “Tips will go to cancer research.”

Brown says this first donation won’t be her last, but she’s considering different forms of fundraising in the future.

“This summer I’m going to try and keep thinking up other ideas to get more money for MD Anderson,” she says. “I know $7 is not very much money, but if everyone gave just a little it could help a lot of people.”

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center