CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's an unlikely pairing, a President of a major medical university and an 11-year-old cancer patient. But that's exactly what MUSC President Doctor Ray Greenberg and the late Harper Drolet had -- a friendship.
Harper was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer in October 2009 and passed away in September of 2011 after a brave two-year fight.
"She's really one of my heroes," Dr. Ray Greenberg, President of MUSC said. "She has taught me so much and everyone she came in contact with in her life."
With the recent announcement that Dr. Greenberg is leaving MUSC for The University of Texas in August, Harper Drolet's family said it's a huge loss for the community.
"Those are going to be really big shoes to fill as soon as Dr. Greenberg leaves that door," Harper's mother, Amy Drolet said.
Jamie Drolet echoes his wife's words in saying Dr. Greenberg's care and concern for their daughter during her cancer treatment at MUSC shows the compassionate leader that he is.
"We are not only losing a wonderful individual but a good friend," Harper's father, Jamie Drolet said.
"Harper greatly loved Dr. Greenberg, he's a good man," Amy Drolet said.
Though Harper isn't here to see her friend leave his tenure at MUSC for the University of Texas, her family says it means so much that their fearless leader was never afraid to share his heart.
"The ones that tug at your heart strings are the children and they're are so many lives that we save here and so many that we couldn't save," Dr. Greenberg said.
"I am so grateful to know many of the patients here on a close personal basis. The hardest part of leaving is leaving the people."
Dr. Greenberg served as President at the Medical University of South Carolina for 13 years. During his leadership, Dr. Greenberg doubled the annual research funding and increased the campus size by one million square feet.
Dr. Greenberg is leaving MUSC to assume the position of Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at The University of Texas System.
"I love Charleston. Charleston is our home and we will be back to retire in Charleston if not before," Dr. Greenberg said of him and his wife Leah.
Harper Drolet's memory lives on through the Hugs for Harper tennis tournament. The annual fundraiser will take place September 13-15 on Kiawah Island. The money raised goes to pediatric cancer research. To find out more about Hugs for Harper click here.