KENTWOOD, Mich – Sharyn Capobianco makes sure her daughter’s legacy lives on, fighting to find a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG); the cancer that killed eight-year-old Milan.
Capobianco received the devastating news of her diagnosis just three days before Milan’s seventh birthday.
“We were told she was then six months old and there was no treatment,” Capobianco recalls. “Nothing was done. And 100% of this [children with DIPG] the.”
After Milan passed away, Capobianco and her husband contacted the Van Andel Institute with the aim of funding research into DIPG.
They founded a non-profit organization, Milan’s Miracle Fund, which has since raised more than $700,000 thousand dollars for that purpose.
This year, Capobianco and her team received the news of a major breakthrough on the anniversary of Milan’s death.
“I am proud to say that the FDA approved the clinical trials on February 12 of this year 2021,” Capobianco said. “At least now there is tremendous hope for families that when their children are diagnosed with this cruel disease, they can now participate in something that gives them great hope.”
Capobianco’s arm now features a watercolor painting of a sun, designed by Milan when she was six.
The symbol is also a trademark to represent childhood cancer research.
Capobianco, who also suddenly lost her husband in the years following her daughter’s death, said Milan’s spirit drives her to keep fighting for a cure.
“She would be super proud, and she’s by my strength,” Capobianco said. “She never gave up. And neither do we… I know we’ll find a cure in my lifetime.’
One of the organization’s biggest fundraisers, the Miracle Fun Run in Milan, is scheduled for September 26 in Millennium Park.
Click here for more information about the Milan Miracle Fund or to donate.
While the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union are paying out Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Capobianco will receive a prize of $550.
Know someone who should be in the spotlight next month? Nominate them here.
Meet Tony Comden, our Pay it Forward Person of the Month for May 2021.