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DeDe's Gift Gives Back

December 2, 2021

For Rae Gibbons Majnarich, the mission to ease the burdens of patients and their loved ones is a personal one. Rae is a cancer survivor who has made it her mission to honor the memory of her beloved friend, Docia “DeDe” Grimm. Like Rae, DeDe survived her battle with cancer, yet in February 2019 DeDe succumbed to complications from radiation treatments she had 11 years prior. In DeDe’s memory, Rae founded DeDe's Gifts, Inc., a not-for-profit that helps to pay for long-term hospital parking for patients and their loved ones at GBMC’s Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.

DeDe was a generous, dedicated woman, who devoted her time to her family, her friends, and her work. She was also a fighter. Even as she struggled with her own health, she was committed to educating women on health and wellness. Docia was a fitness instructor and co-founded the Christian Women’s Wellness Conference which was held annually in Canton, Ohio, from 2004-2015. Her dedication continued throughout her cancer diagnosis and treatment and up until the very end of her life.

When someone leaves such a deep imprint, grief can turn to action. When DeDe died, Rae searched for a way to memorialize her friend and looked back on the bright spots along her own cancer journey. She felt fortunate in the care she received and in the friends and family who supported her during her own treatment. Rae recalled the many small moments during her treatment that meant a lot to her: something kind that someone said or small gifts that she received.

She found the answer on her last day of treatment, chatting with a fellow radiation patient. When she asked him how he was feeling, he replied that he was happy that parking is free for patients when they come for radiation appointments. His cheerful tone made her realize that parking was just one more thing to think about when patients were trying to get well. DeDe’s Gift was born out of Docia Grimm’s memory, with the mission of lifting that one burden off the patient’s shoulders.

Then came the global events of 2020, prompting doubts about launching this new nonprofit. Rae looked at all the ways people were more consciously reaching out to care for one another and concluded that it was the perfect time. Rae has been so inspired by Docia and all she was able to accomplish, and she hopes that DeDe’s Gift will inspire others to give back in meaningful ways, large and small.

DeDe's Gift will host a Rock & Raffle fundraiser on Friday, December 10, 5-10 pm at Hightopps Backstage Grille, featuring live music by Radio Pilots and lots of fun raffles. Tickets can be purchased here.  

Donate to The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute and lift the burden of patients like DeDe. 

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