Age 16, President, Pink Polka Dots Junior Guild, Lake Forest Park, Washington
My older sister, Sydney, was my best
friend. She was diagnosed with a brain
tumor when she was only 10. The
doctors said it was inoperable and gave
her a year to live. I didn’t really know
what it all meant – I was 8 at the time – but I remember that Sydney hugged
me every night because she didn’t
know if she would survive to see me
the next day.
I remember Sydney struggling in
her last days to collect items for a
garage sale so other kids wouldn’t have
to go through what she did. After she
died, three of her friends started the
Pink Polka Dots Junior Guild (PPD) to
carry on her dream. Since then, our
guild has raised more than $500,000
for pediatric brain tumor research.
Last spring, before they headed
off to college, the original PPDs had
a ceremony to pass the torch to a
new generation, and I became the
guild’s president. I knew I had a big
responsibility, but that didn’t scare me.
The changes in my life and in my family
after Sydney died – especially seeing
my parents cry so much – created a lot
of anger and sadness inside of me. I’ve
directed all that energy into the guild.
As the lead PPD, I challenge our
younger guild members to make positive
changes in the world. Knowing that
there’s always more to achieve and
do keeps me going.
I can’t bring Sydney back, but I
can do a lot to help other kids who
are diagnosed with cancer. I know
my sister would be proud.
I Am Seattle Children's: The People Behind the Care
Find more videos and stories of the providers, staff, supporters, patients, families, volunteers and friends who make up the Seattle Children's family.
Visit I Am Seattle Children's.
Published in Connection magazine, April 2013