My granny, Minnie Bell, was the strongest and most courageous person I’ve ever known in real life. When I was a little girl, she lived with us and took care of me while my parents worked, so we were naturally best friends. We loved watching The Price is Right every day and she gave the absolute best hugs. She used to rock me to sleep (even when I was far too big for her lap) and sing old gospel songs. Granny never missed an opportunity to send a greeting card commemorating special and even the most ordinary of occasions. I have a little box of her cards I’ve saved for all these years and when I need a reminder of love and humanity, I spend some time with its contents. She helped raise her three grandchildren as well as my cousin and me (great-grandchildren) before being diagnosed with colon cancer, which she beat. Unfortunately, the cancer returned in her ovaries a few years later and she fought it with everything she had until we had to say goodbye.

Moffitt has saved the lives of countless friends and loved ones, and I know that with the advances we’ve been able to make because of critical research, clinical trials, education and screening, my Granny would’ve likely had a very different experience if she were diagnosed today.

I’m honored to have joined the Moffitt team as an employee earlier this year and I can’t wait to see the progress we continue to make as an organization. I want other little girls and little boys to be able to grow up knowing their grannies, just like I did.