Maggie Graham’s philosophy of compassion came to fruition following her bout with Stage II breast cancer. When Maggie was diagnosed in November 2004, she strived to maintain normality for herself and her family. She juggled nine months of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation alongside preparations for her son’s high school graduation. Viewing her diagnosis as an insistence to move forward, Maggie remained physically active and never missed a friend or family obligation.
One month into treatment, Maggie’s father, Dick Gowan, was diagnosed with Melanoma. Oftentimes, Maggie and her father would be seated side by side in the cancer treatment center. Maggie saw her father as her biggest inspiration. "He taught me to be strong," she stated. That resoluteness was key to her recovery.
Maggie completed her chemotherapy and radiation treatments in August 2005. She is now a six–year breast cancer survivor with an aspiration to "pay it forward" to other individuals who are struggling with this disease. In honor of her one–year, cancer–free milestone, Maggie and her daughter participated in the Susan G. Komen 3–Day for the Cure event. In three days, they walked 60 miles and helped raise more than $10,000 for breast cancer research. Maggie has also been a volunteer for nine years on the oncology floor at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and is involved with The Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer, supporting families with children who have terminal cancer. She views her volunteerism as a way of giving back to those who have supported her along her journey.
For Maggie’s Hope Garden, she chose a vibrant butterfly plot as a fitting symbol for life. She selected two types of fragrant perennial herbs: rosemary in remembrance of her inspiring father and thyme to signify courage and strength. A spray of colorful irises adorns her garden to emanate faith, hope, and wisdom.
Maggie and her husband John have a son, Scott, 24, and a daughter, Sarah, 22. When asked what message she wanted to convey to others who may be struggling, Maggie stated, "Even in the darkest places, you can still find sunshine." She followed up by echoing the encouraging words of Christopher Reeve: "Once you choose hope, anything is possible."