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Milan's Miracle Fund shining light on need for pediatric cancer research

milan sun.jpg
Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 19:55:34-04

KENTWOOD, Mich — Sharyn Capobianco is ensuring her daughter's legacy lives on, by fighting to find a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG); the cancer that took eight-year-old Milan's life.

Capobianco received the devastating news about her diagnosis just three days before Milan's seventh birthday.

"We were told that at the time, she had six months, there was no treatment," Capobianco recalled. "There wasn't anything being done. And 100% of these [children with DIPG] die."

After Milan passed, Capobianco and her husband reached out to the Van Andel Institute with the goal of funding research into DIPG.

They established a non-profit, Milan's Miracle Fund, that has since raised more than $700,000 thousand dollars for that purpose.

This year, Capobianco and her team received news of a big breakthrough on the anniversary of Milan's death.

"I'm proud to say as of February 12, of this year 2021, the FDA approved the clinical trials," said Capobianco. "At least now, there's a tremendous amount of hope for families, that when their children are diagnosed with this vicious disease that they now can partake in something to give them a lot of hope."

A watercolor painting of a sun designed by Milan when she was six is now tattooed on Capobianco's arm.

The symbol has also been trademarked to represent pediatric cancer research.

Capobianco, who also lost her husband suddenly in the years following her daughter's death, said Milan's spirit is propelling her to keep fighting for a cure.

"She'd be super proud, and she is by my strength," said Capobianco. "She never gave up. And, neither are we... I know in my lifetime we'll find a cure."

One of the organization's biggest fundraisers, Milan's Miracle Fun Run, is scheduled for September 26th at Millennium Park.

To learn more about Milan's Miracle Fund, or to donate, click here.

As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Capobianco is receiving a $550 prize.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Tony Comden, our May 2021 Pay it Forward Person of the Month.