2014 Year In Review

A Note from Lisa Goodwin, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Connor's Heroes Foundation

Walking into the outpatient pediatric oncology clinic, I easily recognize the parents who recently learned their child has cancer. They look stunned, scared, and overwhelmed – the same emotions I had when my son, Connor, was diagnosed eleven years ago. After his treatment, I was determined to make sure no family faces the uncertainty of cancer alone. Connor’s Heroes started in 2006 and, since that time, we've grown into a well-respected nonprofit that doctors, social workers, and former patients recommend to families. 
In 2014, I’m happy to report that Connor’s Heroes: (1) helped more families than ever; (2) successfully raised sufficient money for our programs; and (3) is one step closer to helping to announce the  director of our Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. Read on, and you will learn exactly how Connor’s Heroes was there for our Hero families in 2014. You’ll be glad you did.

 50 children were diagnosed with cancer at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU
► 67% of our registered patients were boys; 33% were girls

► Average age of our hero patients was 7 years old
 Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) was the most common cancer diagnosis
20 miles was the average distance a family traveled for treatment with some as far as 100 miles (one-way)

► 100% of all pediatric cancer patients at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU received a Heroes Backpack and Parent Tote
 $15,000 in gift cards, free housecleaning, and Christmas gifts to 82 families
 4,000 free lunches served, with our partner CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation, to families on the pediatric floor at VCU Health System
 $3,000 for funeral expenses provided through the Heroes Angel Fund

Our program directors, Fran and Erin, develop trusting and compassionate relationships with the families who register with Connor’s Heroes. Each family received gift cards for gas and groceries, vouchers for free housecleaning and family portraits, and cards of encouragement. As we learned more about a family, we offered support to ease their burden. Last year, we gave Connor's mom a new stroller to help with hospital visits. Lauren received a rocking chair for her room in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. 

100% of all the pediatric patients admitted to the transplant unit found their hospital room decorated by CHF volunteers
Created a Patient Care Journal designed for caregivers to track important information during a child’s treatment
Maintained the only family room on the ward, the Connor’s Heroes Room of Possibilities, with games, crafts, books, and toiletries

Connor's Heroes knows that the families of children in bone marrow transplant treatment are often isolated from family and friends and need extra support during a very uncertain and difficult time. We are the only nonprofit whom hospital staff relied on to support the emotional needs of those families. 

12 people trained as Sidekicks and matched with Superheroes
 576 hours committed by our Sidekicks to their Superheroes
184 patients, families, and volunteers went to sporting events, children’s theater, festivals, and Marvel Universe Live – all organized and paid for by Connor’s Heroes with a generous grant from the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund.

Research shows that cancer not only affects the child in treatment, but siblings share in the burden of the illness. The Superheroes and Sidekicks Program connected community volunteers with siblings and patients who need support, encouragement, and friendship during their family’s cancer journey. Our Sidekicks promised to spend a minimum of four hours every month with the child. It is the only buddy program offered for the siblings of pediatric cancer patients.

22 people registered to be a Helping Hero
45 volunteers did yard work for four hero families before the holidays
Developed an online course so volunteers can train to be a Helping Hero when it is convenient for them

You can imagine that a clean house, a decent dinner, and a raked yard are not a priority when you're helping your child through a rigorous cancer treatment. This is why we created the Helping Heroes program. Erin organized a system to train volunteers and get them helping the families as quickly as possible. As a result, we organized more Helping Heroes events than previous years.

$20,000 donated to the Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund
$8,800 worth of individual gifts designated for Pediatric Cancer Research

The Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund is the only endowment at the VCU Massey Cancer Center dedicated to conducting innovative research related to childhood and adolescent cancer. In 2014, Lisa worked closely with Dr. Bruce Rubin, VCU Department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Gordon Ginder, VCU Massey Cancer Center, in the search to hire a nationally recognized physician-researcher in pediatric hematology/oncology. We hope to share the announcement of the hiring of a candidate in 2015.

$108,000 raised at The Heroes Art Ball
$21,500 raised at DiggityFest
$2,400 raised at glave kocen art openings
$44,370 raised through CHF partnerships with  Team Travis, Heroes Run, Rocketts Red Glare, and local restaurants

Connor’s Heroes had a successful year of raising funds and awareness through events. The Heroes Art Ball raised the most money ever in its four- year history. In September, thousands spent the day listening to family-friendly music at DiggityFest. Throughout the year, service clubs, corporations, churches, social groups, and even Hero families sponsored fund raising events benefiting Connor’s Heroes. Gifts from individuals continued to be an important source of funding with $18,428 raised in one month through our annual campaign, Give Hope.


Total Revenue $315,657
Corporate, Individual, and Foundation Contributions $139,198
Special Events $176,270
Total Expenses $263,795
Program $210,684
Administration $33,763
Fundraising & Development $19,348

2014 Heroes Art Ball Sponsors
Sidekick: Aetna, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc.
Silent Auction: Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank PLC
Dessert: Scaffolding Solutions
Hero: H.F. Hill, M&T Bank, Mass Mutual Financial Group, Southern Hardwood & Floor Supply, Virginia Business Systems, Whitten Brothers
Backpack: Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Hirschler Fleischer, Hunton & Williams, Mary and Ted Linhart, McGuire Woods, Stoli, VCU Massey Cancer Center

Hero Family: Alliance Group, Apex, Atlantic Bulk Carrier, Corp., Chronic Care of Richmond, Bradley and Mary Jo Dalton, Goodman, Allen & Filetti, The Insurance Doctor, Karen Michael Consulting, Keiter,  Romp n' Room, David Word Automotive

Art Patron: glave kocen gallery