She was beautiful. She was sunshine.

Caroline's Story


Caroline Symmes was 5 years old when cancer ended her life. Out of her tragedy, this foundation was born to fund research and inspire hope in future pediatric patients and their families.

Caroline Symmes was three years old when she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor Disease. As the most curable type of kidney cancer in adults and children, Wilms Tumor has a 90% survival rate. But Caroline had a very aggressive tumor, and with so little in the way of research for pediatric cancers, her physicians quickly exhausted their options to treat the disease.

She never cried or complained. With an old soul and a big smile, she lived her life to its fullest.

Caroline lost her future not because of a lack of care or resources, but because of a lack of funding for pediatric cancer research. The Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research at Riley Children’s Health is the gift she leaves behind, so every child with cancer can live with hope for a bright future of their own.

Learn more about the history of pediatric cancer research and the need for funding: The Funding Challenge

Read about our specific plan to impact pediatric oncology through research: Our Research Mission