A Few Stories About Families Who Made a Difference

Families who endure losing a child to brain cancer is a club no one wants to be in. It’s a club where members navigate hourly around the emptiness left by the child who passed too soon, while knowing that less than 8% of government research dollars go to finding cures for the cancer that took that child from them. Here are a few stories about some of the families who helped launch Gift from a Child.

At 9 years old, Gabriella Miller was diagnosed with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) an inoperable brain tumor, which is terminal upon diagnosis. Her tumor was the size of a walnut, so Gabriella founded the Smashing Walnuts Foundation to increase awareness of the need for funding for childhood brain cancer research.

Ellyn Miller, Gabriella’s mother, worked to establish the federal Gabriella Miller Kids First Research program, which allocates $25 million annually for research into what causes pediatric cancer. Smashing Walnuts has been a leader in partnering with government organizations, lawmakers, businesses, nonprofits, and communities in bringing more attention to the need for childhood cancer research.

In 2013, Heather Serafin was diagnosed with DIPG after a lifetime of challenging herself physically in a variety of demanding athletic activities. Unfortunately, DIPG doesn’t care how physically fit you are when it strikes. Heather and her family founded the H Life, selling coffee, tea, and apparel to raise money to fund childhood cancer research.

“To a situation that seems hopeless, we strive to bring hope, faith, mercy, and encouragement to those who have been affected by DIPG, and pediatric brain cancer,” says The H Life’s website.

A signature H Life product is the Say My Name coffee subscription. Say My Name shares the stories of children lost to cancer and raises funds for cancer charities, with 20% of every box going to the charity of choice designated by the family of the child that is celebrated.

We are awestruck at how tragedy has motivated families of children with brain cancer. They have changed policy and raised millions of dollars. They have testified before Congress, spoken as colleagues with some of the world’s best cancer researchers, and inspired countless others who gave money, became advocates, and demanded more attention for childhood cancer.

Our families work together to encourage children who have cancer and their families to donate brain tissue to empower research. It is through accelerating research that cures will be found and families will no longer experience the devastating loss of a child as a result of brain cancer.

None of our families would have chosen this life, but together, we have accomplished so much.

Gift from a Child
Is a Swifty Foundation Program

Swifty is a recipient of the GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency

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