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Turning sorrow into passionate advocacy

Roseville, Calif.- Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, today honored Robyn Raphael of Roseville as the 2012 Woman of the Year for the 4th Assembly District during a special Assembly ceremony at the State Capitol.

“Robyn has made a tremendous contribution to our community, and her dedication to make our region and California a better place to live is inspiring,” Gaines said.

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“Every day, Robyn works tirelessly to help those in need and is making a difference locally and reaching out nationally to find a cure for childhood cancer. I am pleased to present Robyn with this most deserving honor.”

Life altering experience

In June of 1997, Robyn and Kyle Raphael’s four-year old son Keaton was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the nervous system. After several rounds of chemotherapy, numerous surgeries and a double bone marrow transplant, Keaton’s courageous battle ended suddenly nine months later due to treatment complications.

When she gathered information on childhood cancer during her son’s battle, Robyn was shocked to learn how common pediatric cancer occurs and how little money was spent on research.ย  Just six weeks after Keaton’s death, Robyn and Kyle, together with family and friends, founded The Keaton Raphael Memorial for Neuroblastoma, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting children and their families in their fight against childhood cancer.ย  The memorial started as a tribute to their son but has grown into an invaluable resource for the childhood cancer community.

Millions for pediatric research and patient care

Since its inception, the organization has raised close to $3 million dollars for pediatric research and patient care programs though its St. Baldrick’s Foundation partnership.

“I am very honored to be chosen as the 4th District Woman of the Year by Assemblywoman Beth Gaines,” Raphael said. “Since relocating to the Roseville community nearly sixteen years ago, I have been incredibly blessed to live in such a caring community. Throughout our son’s battle with cancer we experienced compassion and outpouring of support. My passion to advocate and assist children with cancer and their families in our community is a privilege.”

Held annually, the Woman of the Year ceremony celebrates California’s extraordinary women. 

Started in 1987 to help commemorate Women’s History Month, the event has become one of the Capitol’s most anticipated celebrations of community service each year.ย  Honorees are presented with a certificate from the State Assembly recognizing their outstanding contributions to their community during a special ceremony in the Assembly chambers.

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