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’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'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.