Recently Carolyn found an old newspaper clipping from Neil’s high school paper. In the article, Neil’s basketball coach stated: “Neil is the heart and soul of the team. While she’s on the court, she brings out the best in everybody. Her skills aren’t necessarily the best, but she makes up for it with heart and determination.” In that same school article, Neil was quoted as saying: “We have to go into each game and just give it our all, thinking we can win.” That spirit of determination defined Neil’s fight against the cancer that eventually took her life and now defines the Maddux family’s drive to support cancer research.
Neil wanted to do her best at everything she undertook, attending Princeton and going on to attend law school at UNC. Carolyn reflects on the essence of her beautiful, smart daughter, “Throughout treatment, Neil remained hopeful and optimistic a new clinical trial that would cure her was right around the corner. She lifted all of our spirits.”
Her physician, Claire Dees, MD, says, “She participated in several clinical trials of new targeted therapies, which unfortunately did not work well enough nor long enough. She was a brilliant and courageous young woman and it was an honor and a joy to have known her.”
Now, the Maddux family has decided that the best way to further their mission is to invest in top cancer centers that are looking for cures: UNC Lineberger and Dana Farber, both of which treated Neil.
They have established a fund to support breast cancer research at UNC Lineberger. Hopeful that their support will lead to new discoveries, Carolyn and her family are grateful for the wonderful care Neil received at UNC. They recall the tiny room where Neil was treated at Memorial Hospital and are thrilled that UNC’s N.C. Cancer Hospital offers a state-of-the-art clinical trials unit with light filled rooms.