Nine-year-old Diamond Marshall died Monday from osteosarcoma.
In July 2011, Diamond gave the Duchess of Cambridge a timid hug on the windswept tarmac of the Calgary airport at the conclusion of the royal couple's Canadian tour.
The young cancer patient had written Kate a note from the hospital bed where the child watched the royal wedding earlier that year, and the Children's Wish Foundation went to work to make it happen.
Diamond's mother died from the same disease in 2007 and the family says the girl was born with a genetic predisposition to cancer.
The Diamond Shine Fund has been created in hopes of helping raise money and awareness for childhood cancers because the family wants "to know why this happens.”
The Marshall family has donated $100,000 and the goal is to reach $10 million.
"When she wasn't being a princess, our little girl liked to say that her superhero name was Diamond Shine. This was certainly fitting, since she had the power to light up any room with just the twinkle in her eye," the Marshall family in a statement Thursday.
In a statement Tuesday, Diamond's family said the resilient girl survived cancer three times and biopsies in 2011 showed her to be in remission.
But in November they learned she had osteosarcoma.
"We were told this would be the last chapter of her journey," they said.
Saifa Koonar, president and CEO of the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, said it's humbling that the Marshall family has decided to help other families fighting childhood cancer in the midst of their grieving for Diamond.
"The goal of the Diamond Shine Fund is to enable specialists to better understand cancer genomics — the origins, changes and responses in a child's DNA that result from this terrible disease. Ultimately, we hope the fund will help advance specialists' ability to diagnose children more quickly and accurately, tailor treatments to them individually, and improve their overall quality of life in the long term."
Donations are being accepted online by the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation through www.childrenshospital.ab.ca/MemorialGifts or the "Donate Now" section of the website.
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