Whelan School Raises Money for Pediatric Brain Cancer Research

Whelan School student Maya Bragdon’s battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, started when she was six years old. 

During COVID remote learning in 2020, her mom noticed her balance was off, and Maya started complaining that her hand wouldn't stop shaking. 

Her parents took her to Boston Children's Hospital, where the worst was confirmed: Maya had DIPG, an aggressive tumor of the brainstem. DPIG almost always affects the pediatric population, with approximately 200 to 300 new cases each year in the United States. 

DIPG has no cure and only palliative treatments, and most patients survive less than one year. However, Maya battled for 13 months, enduring clinical trials and multiple sessions of radiation. 

Sadly, Maya died from the disease on January 9, 2022. She was seven years old. 

Last week, Maya’s mom, Kimberly, and twin sister, Abigail, were at the Whelan School to kick off a fundraising effort at the school to help end DPIG. 

“The Cure Starts Now is the family we needed, and they continue to help us honor Maya's memory through fundraising in her name for a cure for this awful disease,” said Kimberly. 

At the Whelan, the school community participated in The Cure Starts Now’s “Caps for the Cure” fundraiser in Maya’s memory. 
Caps for the Cure is a fun and easy way to raise much-needed funds and awareness for pediatric brain cancer research. All Whelan students and staff were encouraged to bring in donations, and in exchange, they had the ability to wear a hat for the day.

“It was so heartwarming to be part of such an awesome fundraiser in honor of Maya’s memory,” said Whelan Principal Rachel Shanley. “My hope is that both Kimberly Bragdon and Abigail Bragdon feel the warmth surrounding them. I’m always in awe of how the Whelan family comes together to support one another. Many thanks to the Whelan staff, the Bragdon family, and Caps for the Cure for coming together to make this fundraiser possible.”

Those still wishing to make a donation in Maya’s memory can visit capsforthecure.org.