Spring 2022

Katie’s wish rides on

Pediatric specialty clinic renaming honors an inspiring leukemia patient and decades of community support for children’s cancer care, research, and education


Thirteen-year-old Katie Hageboeck of Wayzata, Minn., had been saving her money for a red 10-speed bike. As she neared the end of her 16-month battle with leukemia, Katie told her parents that she wanted Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) to be her memorial fund and asked that they put her bike money into it. 

That was in 1979. Norm and Diana Hageboeck made their daughter’s gift to CCRF, then a little-known fund held at the University of Minnesota. Today CCRF is an independent fundraising organization whose donors have contributed more than $100 million to the pediatric cancer program at the University of Minnesota and M Health Fairview, advancing global innovation and shaping the field of childhood cancer care, research, and education. CCRF is one of the University’s largest donors and its largest funder of pediatric cancer research.  

In honor of Katie’s legacy, the Pediatric Specialty Care Journey Clinic at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital is now called the Katie Hageboeck Children’s Cancer Research Fund Clinic.

Katie Hageboeck

Norm and Diana Hageboeck, of course, will never forget their daughter or her wish. So when a longtime friend recently helped them find the red 10-speed bike that Katie had been saving up for, they knew they had to buy it in her honor.

“I paid $140 for the red bicycle, and when I looked at the balance in Katie’s savings book, it said $143,” Norm Hageboeck says. “Not only that, the bike also came with a sticker license with the dates 1979 and 1981, the year she died and the year we held our first benefit. It made us think that Katie’s spirit was very present in the purchase of this bike.” 

“It felt like Katie was guiding us,” Diana Hageboeck adds.

The Katie Hageboeck Children’s Cancer Research Fund Clinic is being expanded to incorporate more infusion bays and other upgrades beginning this fall. When renovations are complete, an image of Katie’s red bike will be part of the lobby artwork.

There are many opportunities for donors to honor their loved ones in this clinic space. To learn more, contact Kristi Flanagan Villar at flanagan@umn.edu or 651-503-8234.