Marnie Rose, MD, a graduate of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, was just 27 and in her first year of pediatric medical residency at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital when she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. She continued to see patients until she passed away in 2002 at the age of 28.
“Marnie was wonderful, beautiful, and bright, and she devoted her life to helping children,” remembers her mother, Lanie Rose. “We have vowed to do whatever we can to prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy.”
The nation met this remarkable woman with the beautiful smile who transfixed viewers during the ABC television reality series Houston Medical. She used her amazing personality to share the story of her cancer, her life, and her duties as a medical resident for six weeks during the summer of 2002. She removed her wig in the series debut to reveal the reality of her life as a doctor and a patient. She died shortly after the last episode aired.
Lanie and her husband, Jerry, created the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation to carry on their daughter’s work by funding pediatric initiatives and brain cancer research at the Texas Medical Center.
The foundation established the Dr. Marnie Rose Professorship in Pediatric Neurosurgery at McGovern Medical School to spur innovative research and novel treatments for pediatric brain tumors, the second most common cancer in children. The support from the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation helped change the course of pediatric brain cancer so that patients today have a better chance of survival and a healthy and productive life.
The foundation also started Run for the Rose, an annual event that raises funds to support children’s health initiatives, including brain cancer research. It has grown each year to more than 5,000 participants, including more than 100 survivors.
“We wanted to honor Marnie’s spirit, courage, and strength,” says her twin brother Myles. “Through Run for the Rose, we hope to continue Marnie’s legacy.”
The inherent power of the Dr. Marnie Rose Professorship and all UTHealth endowments is that they live in perpetuity to continually revolutionize medicine in unimaginable ways—transcending time, much like Marnie herself. It also stands as a testament to her life and enduring legacy by continuing her work to save lives and improve the quality of life for cancer survivors through research and personalized therapies.