TAMPA (FOX 13) -A Tampa Bay woman who worked hard fighting for children has lost her battle with cancer. Dottie Berger MacKinnon died from liver cancer Sunday.
When Dottie was diagnosed three and a half years ago, doctors said she had months to live. Her husband Sandy MacKinnon says she outlived their every expectation.
"She was given eight months to live, and she kept saying to her doctor, ‘I'm going to be your miracle,' " Sandy MacKinnon said.
Dottie, a former Hillsborough County Commissioner, was a fearless advocate for neglected and abused children. She founded A Kid's Place in Brandon. Outside of the building, there's a life-sized statue of Dottie reading to a child.
"Dottie had a passion for children and she worked tirelessly to make sure that the right things were done for the children of our community," said A Kid's Place Executive Director Virginia Johnson.
Dottie founded Joshua House, as well. It's also a safe haven for abused and abandoned children.
She dedicated herself to charitable causes across the area, including Hands Across the Bay and its Dancing with the Stars fundraiser. Hands Across the Bay Founder Julie Weintraub says Dottie's imprint will be felt always.
"Dottie didn't have to work. She didn't have to do charity work, but she took her passion and her blessings, and she fought for those who couldn't speak for themselves," Weintraub said.
MacKinnon says his wife introduced him to the world in those last three years. They globetrotted, took family trips, and went out to dinner often. He says they lived life. When asked what he'll miss most about her, MacKinnon says "everything."
Dottie leaves behind her husband, a blended family of five children, 17 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild on the way. Dottie adopted one of her children from foster care.
She also leaves behind a thankful Tampa Bay community. She was 71 years old.