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Our History

In 1979, 13-year-old Katie Hageboeck was nearing the end of her 16-month battle with leukemia. Before she died, Katie asked that her savings for a new 10-speed bike be given to Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF), a little-known fund at the University of Minnesota. 

During this time, the government was cutting back on research spending, which stalled potentially lifesaving work. To support research progress, families in treatment at the hospital would pass around a hat in the waiting room, giving memorial gifts in a child’s name. From then on, Katie’s parents, Diana and Norm, vowed to support the University of Minnesota’s groundbreaking research.

In 1981, two years after Katie passed away, the Hageboecks organized a fundraising event called Dawn of a Dream, which has become Dream, CCRF’s signature gala. Since the event’s inception, Dream alone has raised over $22.5 million for childhood cancer research.

Today, CCRF is a national nonprofit, and thanks to donors and partners around the country, we have contributed $213 million to research, education and awareness and quality-of-life programs for childhood cancer families.