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Small donor makes big impact

November 2004

by Anne-Kathleen Kreger

Joy Rathman
Joy Rathman poses with her family (L-R) sister, Faith Rathman; father, Richard Rathman; and mother, Honor Phillips and Dr. Sharon Murphy, CCRI Director, during her tour of the CCRI facility.
Seven-year-old Joy Rathman certainly lives up to her name. This smiling second-grader is an excellent student, a guitar player, a singer, a swimmer … and a philanthropist.

Just a few months ago, Joy’s grandmother was diagnosed with liver cancer. Soon after, Joy learned that two of her friends also had been diagnosed with cancer.

In late July, just a few days before Joy’s seventh birthday, her grandmother passed away. Joy decided that she wanted to honor her late grandmother - and make a difference in the lives of others. In lieu of birthday presents, she asked her friends to make donations to the Health Science Center’s Children’s Cancer Research Institute (CCRI).

"I talked with Joy about the difference between patient care facilities and research facilities," said her mother, Honor Phillips. "Joy chose the CCRI because she wanted her money to go toward research aimed at ways to prevent cancer."

Through the generosity of her friends, Joy collected $300 for the CCRI - and donated the money in memory of her grandmother, Kay Rathman.

"My grandmother died of cancer and I couldn’t help her, so I just wanted to try to help some other way," Joy said. "I think children shouldn’t get cancer. Really nobody should get it, but children especially should be able to live a happy life and get to grow up."

And that’s just what Joy’s donation is doing - supporting the important medical research that will ensure that all children are able to live happy and healthy lives.

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Updated 12/11/14