Creating a Legacy of Hope

Nearly 40 years ago, 13-year-old Katie Hageboeck was nearing the end of her battle with leukemia. Before she died, Katie asked that her savings for a new 10-speed bike be given to Children’s Cancer Research Fund, a little-known fund at the University of Minnesota.

At that time, the government was cutting back on research spending, and survival rates for children with cancer were dismal. To support research progress, families at the hospital would pass around a hat in the waiting room, giving memorial gifts in a child’s name.

Katie’s parents, Diana and Norm, vowed to support groundbreaking research at the University of Minnesota, where she was treated. There, they met Norma Ramsay, MD, and Mark Nesbit, MD, two of Katie’s doctors.

Together, they established CCRF as a nonprofit organization with the support of their community, building the organization from the ground up, starting with the first Dawn of a Dream gala in 1981.

Pioneers in their respective ways—the Hageboecks as advocates, Ramsay as a female oncologist and Nesbit as a clinician and researcher—their enterprising spirit provided the foundation that shapes CCRF today.

All three continue to support childhood cancer research and raise awareness. Diana and Norm remain our strongest advocates; whether at home in the Twin Cities or away for the winter, they are always connecting people to the CCRF mission.

Each year, the Norma K.C. Ramsay Lectureship brings a leading female doctor or scientist from around the world to the university to share their research and inspire new generations of medical pioneers. And the Mark E. Nesbit Lectureship in Pediatric Oncology highlights internationally recognized leaders who speak on current clinical and research issues in the field.

Like the Hageboecks, Ramsays and Nesbits, you can support a future of hope for children with cancer. Join our Wings Society by including a gift to CCRF in your will or estate plan. For more information, contact Kenna Dooley at 952-224-8486 or