I feel like I am finally getting a chance to process the enormous loss of Megan’s passing. After a courageous and arduous seven year and two month battle with Stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, our beautiful girl took her final breath on the evening of March 9. Right after her passing, I immediately went into father protection mode as I needed to make sure Deb and Kenzi were going to be okay. I then dove headfirst into trying to assure that her funeral services were as close to perfect as possible. I felt so responsible for making sure that Megan understood the positive impact she had on those around her both near and far. Because Megan would never let her battle and advocacy efforts be about her, I doubted that she ever fully comprehended the difference she made in this world. At her Celebration of Life service, I was committed to making sure she knew that her short life meant something to so many. I hope we were successful in making her smile down upon us that Sunday morning. After her services concluded, Deb and I immediately dove into the second promise we made to Megan as she took her final breaths, which was that we would continue fighting her fight. The first step in keeping that promise was to finish raising the $500,000 Megan had started to raise to staff and equip the “Megan Bugg Global Rhabdomyosarcoma Laboratory” at the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute. Not only did we want to eventually raise the money, but we set the ambitious goal to do it by her 21st heavenly birthday on April 30, which gave us only 6 short weeks. Thanks to so many generous people and organizations, we not only met Megan’s goal, but we crushed it by raising $700,000 by her birthday!!! I know Megan’s infectious smile was raining down on all of us on that glorious Saturday.

After we celebrated her 21st heavenly birthday on April 30, Deb and I both felt like we could finally take a breath. We were so honored that we could keep the promise we made to her and meet her fundraising goal, but it left us mentally and physically exhausted. I know Megan would want us to take a short hiatus to collect ourselves, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Kenzi just finished her semester at the University of Wisconsin, so she is home with us for a week or so before her summer speech pathology placement starts. Deb retired from nearly 35 years of teaching on March 1, and now that the fundraising goal has been met, she can slow down on writing thank-you notes and going to the printers to create, proof, and deliver various fundraising flyers. I am retiring on June 30 after 33 years in education with the last 17 as the proud Superintendent of Coal City School District #1. All three of us need to take a moment and use a few days to process, comprehend and mourn the magnitude of losing our precious Megan. However, make no mistake, this break is temporary because very soon we will be planning the next step in keeping our promise to Megan, which mean’s keeping MEGAN’S MISSION alive.

For the past seven weeks, we have been consumed with daily fundraisers in our quest to meet Megan’s fundraising goal. Although we will remain committed to fundraising to support promising childhood cancer research at the Megan Bugg Global Rhabdomyosarcoma Research Laboratory, our focus will move away from daily fundraising and more towards larger events. In fact, we are already in the planning phase of the “Megan Bugg Memorial Golf Outing”, which will be held on July 23 at “The Creek” in Morris, IL. All of our 18 hole and 9 hole foursomes quickly filled just by word of mouth, but there are still sponsorships available using the form you can access at

We are also planning the “2nd Annual More Than 4 5k Run” to be held on September 17 in downtown Coal City. Last year we had such a fun race as the event ties in with the Village of Coal City’s Fall Festival, which means the street is closed with food trucks and live music right after the race. More details will be released in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Before Megan passed away, she and I had some big plans when I retired. We wanted to write a book together to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer research. We planned on hitting the speaking circuit so we could spread the word about the plight facing kids with cancer and what needs to be done about it. We wanted to go to Washington, D.C. and begin lobbying legislators to help us pressure both the pharmaceutical companies and the Federal Government to begin prioritizing childhood cancer research. Megan also believed that her amazing nurses at Central DuPage Hospital were so important to her care, and she wanted to promote and encourage future nurses to enter the field of pediatric oncology. She had such big plans, but the evil that is childhood cancer didn’t allow her reach her ultimate goals…but that doesn’t mean that those things won’t still happen.

Our family is going through the process of starting the MEGAN’S MISSION Foundation, which will be a registered 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Our mission for the organization will be to continue Megan’s life’s work by focusing on childhood cancer treatment research, advocacy, and scholarship. Thanks to Kim Scerine at the Broadway Dance Studio, we have finalized the logo for MEGAN’S MISSION, which you can see below. One of the most powerful aspects of this logo is the fact that the words “Megan’s Mission” written on the childhood cancer ribbon is in Megan’s actual handwriting. The childhood cancer ribbon has a stocking cap on top, because Megan usually wore such a hat when she was out and about. The hat also as the M4 emblem, which stands for “More Than 4”, which refers to the fact that the Federal Government spends only 4% of their entire cancer research budget on finding less toxic and more effective treatments for childhood cancer. You can also see the cardinal perched on the ribbon. The cardinal is there because our family had an experience that leads us to believe that the bright red bird is a signal from Megan.

Megan passed away on Wednesday, March 9. On Saturday, March 12, we held her visitation at Coal City High School. As our family was leaving our house in silence that morning to go to the high school, we reached the stop sign at the end of our street when Kenzi immediately pointed to the tree across the road. Right there staring at us for the longest time was not only the brightest cardinal any of us had ever seen, but also the first one we had seen in months. All of us felt the power and spirituality of that moment, and ever since then it seems that a cardinal appears outside our window just when we are needing some comfort and reassurance. Therefore, the cardinal represents the fact that Megan is always with our family and we feel the presence, power, and comfort of her presence.

Although our family is taking some time to catch our breath, the impact of Megan’s life and legacy continues to motivate people to be so kind and caring. On Thursday, I was invited to the Mazon-Verona-Kinsman School District because they held a “Mavericks for Megan” week to raise funds for the “Megan Bugg Global Rhabdomyosarcoma Research Laboratory”. When I arrived at the school, all of their students from grades K-8 were all gathered in the gym for their Superintendent, Nancy Dillow, to present me with a gold “Mavericks for Megan” t-shirt and a check for over $2,000!!! I was so pleased to get the chance to speak to the student body and share how happy Megan would have been that the entire school district came together to support all kids with childhood cancer. Here is a picture of me with Ms. Dillow and some of the awesome students of MVK.

Thanks to so many of you, we were able to give Megan the ultimate 21st heavenly birthday present, and I know it made her so happy and proud. As MEGAN’S MISSION prepares to kick off and continue Megan’s wishes of funding research, advocacy, and scholarship, I hope that everyone on Team Megan will come along for the ride. It’s okay to take a break for a couple weeks, but we cannot stop because there are far too many kids counting on MEGAN’S MISSION reaching her dream of ending childhood cancer. As Megan verbalized many times, her goal was to make sure no more kids had to go through what she had to go through at the hands of this vicious disease. These kids and their families deserve so much better.

Childhood cancer is going to be stopped, and when the nightmare finally ends, everyone will feel the joy of Megan’s thanks and gratitude. I sure do miss that smile…

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Megan is my beautiful 14 year old daughter who is currently fighting Stage 4 cancer. This is the story of her journey as told by her father.

18 thoughts on “MEGAN’S MISSION: What’s Next?”

  1. What a wise decision for you, Deb, and Kenzie. You experienced 7 years of trauma at Megan’s side. Having some quiet time to yourselves is the best investment you could make for you and your family. I think this quote written by John Le Carre in “Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy” sums up your situation well: “There are moments that are made up of too much stuff for them to be lived at the time they occur.” Now it’s time.


  2. Thank you Mr. Bugg for your continued writing of this blog. You and your family continue to be in my prayers. Thanks for also sharing the “Godwink” information about the vibrant cardinal. Many of us have had a similar experience when our loved ones have passed. In fact there are several books written about such a gift you received. The veil between heaven and earth is thin and Megan’s love and care are very much still with you. She must be very proud of you Mr. Bugg for all you have done after her death and during her entire life. Please give your wife a heartfelt and gentle hug from me and other mothers who know today must be extra difficult and bittersweet. 🙏🏻💛


  3. Good Luck to you Mr. and Mrs. Bugg and Kenzi!! Our hearts go out to you!!
    So many more children will be helped because of you all and Megan!! Just take some time to stop and smell the roses!!❤

    Kathy and Jim Martis


  4. I am always thinking of you all. The coincidence of Megan’s death and visitation to our Beth’s is a shiver down my spine. Their spirits seem to be very similar. I am so glad you are taking time for yourselves. You need it, I know.


    1. As I’m reading this blog, the sky is turning a deep beautiful pink and blue, with the setting sun, on Mother’s Day evening. She is sending her love in so many ways, and breathtaking sights. Bless your family, as you take some time, to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate your souls. Congratulations on both of your retirements , time to begin your new journeys in life. Amen 🙏


  5. I am just in awe of Deb,Kenzie and yourself . You are all so determined to keep going until there is a cure!! Megan has to be looking down and saying my family is amazing! Hugs to you all!!


  6. I am so excited to see where Megan’s Mission is heading next and will do whatever I can to help! Your family means so much to us and this community! I think of that beautiful smile often ❤️


  7. I love the powerful new logo for Megan’s Mission! I represents her goals so clearly. Your family continues to amaze me. Thinking of you all with love and prayers.💛


  8. I love you all. She couldn’t be happier with all the progress. Till the cure is found. Beautiful post. 😍


  9. She sure had a beautiful smile 😊 I believe that cardinal is her letting you know she’s always with you ❤️


    1. You deserve to take a breath, reflect, grieve & plan. Focusing on YOUR needs for a little while will allow you to fully be present for the next step of Megans Mission❣️ Thinking of you always🌻


  10. Your journey has not been easy, I’ve shed tears when I have read your blog. Megan was an amazing person / daughter / sister I know she’s been fully restored in heaven resting in Jesus’ arms.

    If you have not finished planning your hiatus please allow me to help. You can call me 815 416 9586 I’m a travel agent. God be with you all
    Palm 119:105. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path


  11. You touched on something before which in the past had totally caught me by surprise…how many “firsts” we have to go through when someone we love goes away. The first car ride, the first dinner out, the first birthday, the first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, the first time you bake a cake, the first long walk, even the first true belly laugh. With a child as amazing as Megan, you will likely have more than your fair share of “firsts” to struggle through. That’s not to say that the second, third, or more get’s much easier, but the “first” seems especially hard. It’s a long time coming that I thank you for showing us all how to handle such tragedy with grace and hope. Very few of us are as brave.


  12. You are all amazing. Please know that many support Megan’s Mission. Stay the course.

    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________


  13. So happy that Team Megan met and surpassed her birthday goal. Happy that you can both retire and slow down a little and breathe. I’m sure you will continue to do great work for children and their need for new treatments. I will continue to support Team Megan.


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