Opportunities, achievements, memories and milestones – these are what Sheila and Dan Saklad always wanted to give children, and what has motivated them to support the brightest minds in pediatric cancer research for nearly three decades. The Saklad family firmly believes that investment in nationally renowned researchers at the University of Minnesota will lead to better treatments – and ultimately a cure – for cancer. Better treatments means more years of life filled with opportunities, achievements, memories and milestones for kids.
The Saklad family has experienced firsthand a life cut short by cancer. After a gallant eight-year battle with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, Sheila died on August 22, 2020. While they knew at the time of her diagnosis in 2012 that Sheila’s cancer was not curable, she and Dan still prayed for a cure every day. On top of their prayers, they continued to generously fund pediatric cancer research through CCRF, most recently through a brain tumor research fund established in their name.
Shortly after establishing the Daniel A. and Sheila M. Saklad Brain Tumor Research Fund at CCRF in 2015, Daniel shared this account describing their motivation: “I had a daughter-in-law ask me, ‘With Sheila having myeloma, why are you focusing on the brain tumor research for children?’ And the answer was pretty simple. These are people who haven’t had a start. If we clock out today, we’ve had 73 years and a good life. But, someone who is 2 years old… why? How is that fair? We want the best shot for the people who can do most in the world with it. Babies, children, teenagers. They deserve that.”
Sheila’s motivation was simple: She hoped to make childhood cancer treatments as non-toxic as possible. “Because chemo is nasty,” she said at the time. Given her own treatment regimen, she would have been considered an expert witness.
Sheila’s battle isn’t the only experience the Saklad family has had with cancer. They also have several friends whose children and grandchildren have been affected by cancer, including a friend whose grandchild died of a brain tumor. Though childhood cancer is considered rare, in their lives, it hasn’t been.
Dan finds peace knowing that his wife of 54 years and mother to his sons Hunter and Daniel, Jr. lived a good life filled with travel, voracious reading, cooking and faithful companionship to many dogs. Most importantly, she was a cheerleader for their four grandchildren— Zack (age 24), Hanna (age 21), Talia (age 19) and Ella (age 16). The Saklads recognized that young cancer patients do not always get as many years to fill their lives with memories, which is why, through dedicated research, Sheila and Dan’s shared goal is for children’s cancer to be cured in their grandchildren’s or great-grandchildren’s generation.
In celebration of Sheila’s life, the Saklad family invites you to contribute a memorial gift to CCRF in her honor.
Give in Memory of Sheila
Sheila was dedicated to funding research that would give children with brain tumors a better chance at life. To support that research in Sheila’s memory, you can donate by clicking the button below or mailing a check to us at 7301 Ohms Lane, Suite 355, Minneapolis MN 55439.