Childhood Cancer Heroes

You are here

Mary Stegmueller

  • Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Click the images to see them larger above!

Learn more about
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Get the facts about Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and how our research projects are making a difference.

Learn More »

Mary was an outgoing young girl who loved her brother, cats, princesses, books and crafts.

Mary was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare, deadly brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) in October 2020. For Mary’s family this diagnosis came with many things — fear, a poor prognosis and a loss of hope. Her mother did not know if Mary would be alive to celebrate Christmas that year. 

Mary endured 30 rounds of radiation over six weeks, which included being sedated each day. The second Mary got home from treatment she’d say, “Let’s go to school.”

By the end of 2020, Mary had endured a biopsy, 37 doctor visits, two emergency room visits, 11 COVID tests, one surgery, 37 rounds of anesthesia, 30 radiation treatments, two MRIs, 12 IVs, 11 speech and OT sessions and one first walk after brain surgery. 

Through all of this, Mary kept insisting to attend school as much as possible and started new dance classes. 

Mary’s doctors told the family about a clinical trial at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. The trial, funded in part by ALSF, uses CAR-T immunotherapy to target the tumor. Mary enrolled and her family began making monthly visits to Stanford, a thousand miles away from their home in Colorado. In March 2021, Mary was there for 35 days, with 26 of those in-patient in the hospital. Following that treatment, there was a 10% reduction in the size of the tumor. Mary returned to Stanford to continue treatment and ALSF helped Mary’s family through the Travel For Care program. 

Throughout treatment, Mary remained determined. She used her therapy walker to walk herself out the hospital and through the airport, loved spending special time with her brother and just being a regular, but extraordinary kid. Sadly, after years of fighting her disease, Mary passed away in March 2024 at the age of 7.

“#MaryStrong doesn’t even begin to describe it,” -Kristin,  Mary’s mom.  

Information provided by Kristin Stegmueller, Mary's mom
Updated March 2024

Next Hero

Donate in Honor of Mary Today!

Your donation helps to fund critically-needed research to find better treatments and cures for children with cancer.

Childhood Cancer Heroes

More Heroes

Jude is an imaginative and brave little boy. At less than a year old, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. He underwent many complications with his treatment and had to have one of his eyes removed. But today he is cancer-free!
Little Quinnlee is loving and adorable. She had an 11 cm tumor and kidney removed and is currently NED, but doctors are watching and waiting to make sure her cancer does not come back. At just 1 year old, she has shown enough bravery for a lifetime.
Joshua is intelligent and has many hobbies. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age 17 after having random fevers and night sweats. After 6 months of treatment, he reached remission! He now wishes to go to medical school for oncology work.
Baby Jojo is a chatterbox who seemed as healthy as he is happy. But, that all changed when doctors found a malignant brain tumor. He is now going through cancer treatment, but is still the positive, courageous little boy he always was.