Meagan Bebenek was four years old when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Six months later she passed away, just two weeks after her fifth birthday. It’s impossible to conceive how such a diagnosis might affect a child so young, yet in that short span between diagnosis and death, Meagan resolved to use her limited time to give back. “She spent hours in her room wrapping up her favourite toys to give away as gifts,” says Meagan’s mom, Denise. “Before she died she kept saying, ‘Mom, I want to make sure everybody who helped me has a gift.’”
“It warms my heart to see the power of selflessness coming together as a compassionate community of hope.”
Brain tumours are the leading cause of death by cancer in children and young people under the age of 20, a fact Denise was not aware of when Meagan was diagnosed in 2000. After her daughter’s death, she wanted to tell the world about this devastating illness. “Something needed to be done to raise awareness, funds and even go beyond that to help the families who were suffering,” says the Toronto-based former teacher.