Our Mission & Values

Founded in 2006 as a salute to Connor Goodwin, who triumphed after 2-1/2 years of cancer treatment as a preschooler, Connor’s Heroes is named after Connor and in honor of the heroes who supported his family throughout his treatment. Today, Connor’s Heroes is a Richmond, Virginia-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the families in Central Virginia cope with childhood cancer and our community’s researchers conquer it.


Our Mission

Building a community of heroes who provide hope, guidance, and support to children with cancer and their families.

Our Vision

To make fighting childhood cancer a journey a family never faces alone.

Our Story: Inspired By One Family’s Journey

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  • Connor’s Cancer Diagnosis

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    Timeline 01Connor was only 22 months old when doctors diagnosed him with leukemia (ALL).

  • Connor’s Last Day of Treatment

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    Timeline02This day is fondly remembered by the family as Connor’s “other birthday” to celebrate the day, 2-½ years after his diagnosis, when he finished treatment.

  • Established Connor’s Heroes Foundation

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    Timeline3aLisa and Steve Goodwin named Connor’s Heroes after their son and in honor of the heroes who helped the family during Connor’s treatment.

  • Launched Heroes Bags and Backpacks

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    Timeline06aConnor gave the first Heroes Backpack to his best friend during treatment, Owen.

  • Established Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund

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    Timeline08With the fund, Connor’s Heroes became the one childhood cancer nonprofit in Richmond that not only helps families but also funds pediatric cancer research in Central Virginia.

  • Opened the Room of Possibilities

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    Timeline10Connor’s Heroes created The Room of Possibilities as a comforting and healing space for the children who are admitted on the adult Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

  • First Gala: The Heroes Art Ball

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    Timeline11The Heroes Art Ball celebrated the five year anniversary of Connor’s Heroes.

  • Named Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund

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    Timeline13The endowed fund was fully funded with a million dollars and was named in honor of Connor’s Heroes.

  • Raised $100,000 at Heroes Art Ball

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    Timeline14aFor the first time ever, the Heroes Art Ball raised $100,000! The gala continues to be Connor’s Heroes largest fundraising event.

  • Started Heroes Art Sessions

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    Timeline15bThe monthly Heroes Art Sessions continue to be a special time when our young heroes express themselves through art created side-by-side with professional artists. Some of the art is auctioned at the Heroes Art Ball.

  • Named Endowed Chair

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    Timeline16The Connor’s Heroes Foundation Board of Directors welcomed Seth J. Corey, M.D., M.P.H, as the first endowed chair in pediatric cancer research.

  • Celebrated 10 Year Anniversary

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    Timeline17aConnor’s Heroes helped more than 1,000 families in our first 10 years.

  • Donated $100,000 to research fund

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    Timeline18Connor’s Heroes gave its largest donation to the pediatric cancer research fund established in our name.

  • Named New Executive Director

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    Timeline21Lisa Goodwin passed the leadership of Connor’s Heroes over to Celia Tetlow Martin. Celia became the foundation’s Executive Director after serving as a volunteer and member of the Board of Directors.

  • Created Advisory Council

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    Timeline 20Physicians and scientists with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the VCU Massey Cancer Center will strategically support Connor’s Heroes programs and research.

  • Launched Circle of Heroes

    four people together at a reception for Connors Heroes

    four people together at a reception for Connors HeroesCircle of Heroes is an ongoing giving circle to recognize Connor’s Heroes most generous donors who are deeply committed to helping area childhood cancer families.

  • Celebrated Holiday Heroes

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    Holidayopenhouse07 LargeConnor’s Heroes started a Holiday Heroes Program. We invited every family with a child in active treatment to a Holiday Open House. They received presents, a $250 gift card, and lots of holiday cheer. The Holiday Open House has become an annual tradition for our families.

  • Launched Hero Squad & Jr. Hero Squad

    2019 Hero Squad for Connors Heroes

    2019 Hero Squad for Connors HeroesThe Hero Squad is a group of people who inspire others to give to Connor’s Heroes in an online, peer-to-peer campaign. The program expanded to include children and teens who joined the Jr. Hero Squad.

  • Connor Graduates High School

    Group photo of Connor holding his high school diploma standing with his family

    Group photo of Connor holding his high school diploma standing with his familyConnor, the boy who inspired the start of Connor’s Heroes, graduated high school.

  • Campaigned for Rooms Filled With Hope

    Image building in blue background Text You can build Rooms filled with Hope for the families who need Connor's Heroes

    Image building in blue background Text You can build Rooms filled with Hope for the families who need Connor's HeroesConnor’s Heroes raised $250,000 for the Rooms Filled With Hope capital campaign. When the new inpatient children’s hospital opens in 2023, Connor’s Heroes will have five permanent spaces on the new pediatric hematology and oncology floor.

  • Introduced Unique Needs Fund

    Image of a teenager wearing a mask sitting next to his mom who is wearing a mask

    Image of a teenager wearing a mask sitting next to his mom who is wearing a maskConnor’s Heroes started the Unique Needs Fund to help families with unexpected expenses for extended stays in the hospital or traveling for second opinions, clinical trials or treatment.

  • Welcomed Child Life Specialist

    A woman smiling standing in front of three people who are in an office

    A woman smiling standing in front of three people who are in an officeConnor’s Heroes funded a Child Life Specialist with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU for pediatric hematology and oncology patients. She will coordinate their care with Connor’s Heroes program team.

  • Raised $500,000 at Heroes Art Ball

    A group of children, teenagers and their parents standing on stage together They are holding up a large painting of the Richmond skyline

    A group of children, teenagers and their parents standing on stage together They are holding up a large painting of the Richmond skylineHundreds of guests celebrated the nine childhood cancer heroes featured at the 11th Annual Heroes Art Ball. The night raised a record-breaking $517,000 for the programs helping the childhood cancer families in Central Virginia.

Our Staff

Connor’s Heroes primarily functions with the assistance of an amazing group of volunteers. We are also fortunate to be guided by a group of dedicated and experienced staff members.

Ch Staff Celia

Celia Tetlow Martin

Executive Director
celia@connorsheroes.org

Celia has been involved with Connor‘s Heroes since 2010 when she began volunteering. She served as Chair of the Development Committee and as Vice Chair of the Connor’s Heroes Board of Directors. She chaired the Heroes Art Ball for several years. Celia worked at University of Richmond, The Commonwealth Institute, and United Way. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech and a loyal Hokie.

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Erin Gardner

Program Director
erin@connorsheroes.org

You can find Erin most every week in clinic or the hospital with the families. She enjoys meeting and engaging with all of our wonderful patients, their families, and the volunteers. Erin joined Connor’s Heroes in August 2013 after working as a professional school counselor.

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Anne-Randolph Carter

Program Coordinator
anne-randolph@connorsheroes.org

Anne-Randolph will work along side Erin while supporting our families, organizing hero events and coordinating our volunteers. Anne-Randolph has a background in healthcare administration, is an avid cycler, a Hokie fanatic, and has a spunky daughter who keeps her energized.

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Ceci Hull

Development Assistant
ceci@connorsheroes.org

Ceci is behind the scenes at Connor’s Heroes managing marketing, social media and donor relations. She comes to Connor’s Heroes with a variety of experience that is put to good use supporting our staff, donors and hero families.

Meredith Burns, Child Life Specialist

Meredith Burns, MS, CCLS

Child Life Specialist, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Meredith partnered with Connor’s Heroes in February 2022. As part of the Child Life Specialist (CLS) Team with CHoR, she will focus on the pediatric hematology and oncology patients when they are admitted to the hospital. She will coordinate a family’s care with the Connor’s Heroes Program Team. Meredith believes patients need to feel like children, even when they are in the hospital.

Picture Credit: Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Connor’s Heroes Foundation Board & Advisory Council

Our Board Members are critical to helping us achieve our mission of supporting childhood cancer heroes and their families.


Officers

Board Members

Tamara Griffin, Chair
Capital One

Marla Fergerson, Vice Chair
MSC Industrial Supply

Zach Isbell, Secretary
JLL

Carrie Geldreich, Treasurer
Fahrenheit Advisors

Gwendolyn Carnes
Markel

Marisa Cherry
VMWare

Lisa Spickler Goodwin, Esq.
Founder
Hirschler

Cathy Heizer
Volunteer

Austin Harris
Milk Bar

Diane Koontz
Healixa

Laura Markley
NRV

Will Maixner
DaVita Kidney Care

Juliana Moreno
Hero Parent

Conrad Simmons
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Karrie Southall
RiverFront Investment Group

Katie Noller Tyson, MD
VCU Health

Kevin Wright
Value Added Distributors

Officers

Tamara Griffin, Chair
Capital One

Marla Fergerson, Vice Chair
MSC Industrial Supply

Zach Isbell, Secretary
JLL

Carrie Geldreich, Treasurer
Fahrenheit Advisors

Board Members

Gwendolyn Carnes
Markel

Marisa Cherry
VMWare

Lisa Spickler Goodwin, Esq.
Founder
Hirschler

Cathy Heizer
Volunteer

Austin Harris
Milk Bar

Diane Koontz
Healixa

Laura Markley
NRV

Will Maixner
DaVita Kidney Care

Juliana Moreno
Hero Parent

Conrad Simmons
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Karrie Southall
RiverFront Investment Group

Katie Noller Tyson, MD
VCU Health

Kevin Wright
Value Added Distributors

Connor’s Heroes Foundation Advisory Council

We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Our Advisory Council is made up of physicians and scientists from the medical field who dedicated their lives to fighting childhood cancer.

Robyn Dillion, LCSW,  C-ACYFSW
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Elizabeth Krieger, MD 
Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Joseph Laver, MD, MHA
Chief of Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
Children’s Hospital Foundation Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research

Elias Neujahr, MHA, MBA
President, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Jeniece S. Roane, MS, RN, NE-BC
Associate Vice President of Operations, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Jennifer Rohan, PhD, LCP
Associate Professor, Director of Psychosocial Clinical Care and Research – Hematology and Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

India Yount Sisler, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Director Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Dory Walczak MS, RN, NE-BC, CPHQ, LSSGB
Nursing Director, Acute & Critical Care Pediatrics, Child Life Program

Contact Us

(804) 897-1272
admin@connorsheroes.org

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 5512, Richmond, VA 23220

Office Address:
1840 West Broad Street Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23220

Connor’s Heroes Foundation
501(c)(3) non-profit organization. EIN: 20-4992632
© 2019 Connor’s Heroes Foundation

Contact us for More Information

Financials

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Connor’s Heroes is committed to being good stewards of the funding we receive from individuals and corporations. You can trust that the money you give to Connor’s Heroes Foundation goes directly to helping area children with cancer and their families. If you would like to receive a copy of our Financial Statements or Form 990, please send an email to celia@connorsheroes.org or call (804) 897-1272. You can also view our profile at giverichmond.org. Our tax identification number is: 20-4992632.