A woman jugs a girl in the art studio

February Heroes Art Session

Artists Take Over Heroes Art Session

A team of talented artists came to the Visual Arts Center ready to inspire the kids’ creativity. The childhood cancer heroes and their siblings painted and crafted, bopping from station to station. The artist will take the piece to their studios, put a few finishing touches to get them ready for the live auction at the 13th Annual Heroes Art Ball on Friday, May 3, 2024 at the John Marshall Ballrooms, 101 N. 5th Street in downtown Richmond.

Save The Date: Heroes Art Ball on May 3, 2024

The Heroes Art Ball is Connor’s Heroes biggest night of the year. The night includes live music, delicious food, open bar, games, parking and our special guests: childhood cancer hero families! The main event is the live auction of art created by the heroes at the Heroes Art Session. Each piece expresses the emotions of being a child with cancer and hope for a better future. Tickets are on sale March 1, 2024. You can purchase tickets online onecau.se/_44q7v1 or by calling (804) 897-1272.

Childhood Cancer Heroes: Ada, Alessa, Alvion, Augie, Harrison, Javi, Jericho, Kennedy, Nikola, Sydney, Tay

Hero Artist Mentors & Volunteers: Ashley Cogbill, Sarah Cross, Nancy LeBlanc, Kathleen O’Connor, Frankie Slaughter, Emilia Texler, Monica Wilmore, Mehanna Borostyan, Mary O’Brien, Liza Shands, Crystal Tetlow

Picture Credit: Hysell Photography, Liza Shands, Nick Ratcliff

About Heroes Art Session With Childhood Cancer Heroes And Their Families

Our Heroes Art Sessions provide a supportive environment in which childhood cancer heroes and their siblings can make art and build community with other hero families. At the sessions, you feel a collective sense of healing by creating and being together. We are grateful to Visual Arts Center for giving us the space for an open studio. And to our donors who allow the Heroes Art Sessions to happen at no cost to our families and to supply the artists with their materials.

Bettieweaver Fisher

Today’s Helping Hero: Bettie Weaver Elementary's K-Kids Club

Bettieweaver Fisher
Fisher, a hero with Connor's Heroes, and his mom were proud of Fisher's school for sponsoring the supply drive.

Bluebirds Help Connor’s Heroes Families

The students of Chesterfield’s Bettie Weaver Elementary School (aka The Bluebirds) flocked together to support their classmate Fisher. Fisher was diagnosed in August 2022. It has not been easy. His family drove back and forth to John’s Hopkins in Baltimore for treatment. Mom and dad shuttled between Baltimore and Richmond to make sure Fisher was not alone. Thankfully, after a year in treatment, doctors said Fisher could start school. GO FISHER!!

Fisher’s school hosted a supply drive to help the local kids battling cancer. They ordered supplies off of Connor’s Heroes Amazon Wish List. The kids got to work! In no time, they assembled more than 50 toiletry bags. Connor’s Heroes Program Team will make sure these go into our parent totes for newly diagnosed families!

Thank you Bettie Weaver Bluebirds for caring for Fisher and all the brave children who are battling cancer right now.

If your school or community service group is looking for a group volunteer project, Connor’s Heroes can set you up. Register your school or service organization: https://bit.ly/connors-heroes-volunteer. A Connor’s Heroes staff member will follow up.

Students from Bettie Weaver's K-Kids Club assembled toiletry bags for the Connor's Heroes Parent Tote Bag.

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Today's Helping Hero: Capital One

Employees Help Newly Diagnosed Families

We were so excited when Capital One contacted Connor’s Heroes. They wanted to volunteer but weren’t sure how to start. We had the answer! Families in the hospital are loving all the snacks in the Connor’s Heroes Family Room. So much that we were running low, even after the generous donations from a snack drive last month. They decided to sponsor a snack supply drive!

Capital One team purchased hundreds of sweets, snacks and coffee. Celia came to their office and spoke to them about the organization’s mission. They worked together to assemble snack bags for the hospital. 

Wait, it gets even better. A few members of the team wanted to go the extra mile. Capital One showed up at our office to assemble 30 Parent Totes. They got choked up when Celia told them about our backpack and tote program – it’s a family’s first introduction to Connor’s Heroes. They were ready to make a difference. Boy, did they! Thank you Capital One!

If your company is looking for a group volunteer project, Connor’s Heroes can set you up. Register your company or service organization: https://bit.ly/connors-heroes-volunteer. A Connor’s Heroes staff member will follow up.

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Capital One employees assemble snack bags for families in the hospital.

A dad has his arms around his son as they work on a craft project at Connor's Heroes Art Session

January Heroes Art Session

A row of paintings with the words hero and june at Connor's Heroes Art Session

Childhood Cancer Heroes Create!

The Heroes Art Session of 2024 kicked off a colorful and creative start to the new year. The January session was a mix of new heroes and regulars. From one year old Harrison to 10-year-old Jericho. Also new to the Heroes Art Session was Jillian our recently hired Program Director. Artist Mentor Nancy Jacey returned with her collaborative art project. We couldn’t believe it when Nancy walked in carrying Lady Liberty herself — the Statue of Liberty.

Childhood Cancer Heroes: Ada • Augie • Ava • Charlotte • Harrison • Jericho • June • Kennedy

Hero Artist Mentors & Volunteers: Liza • Nancy • Chris • Swara Jack Jacey • Dee • Damian

About Heroes Art Session With Childhood Cancer Heroes And Their Families

Our Heroes Art Sessions provide a supportive environment in which childhood cancer heroes and their siblings can make art and build community with other hero families. At the sessions, you feel a collective sense of healing by creating and being together. We are grateful to Visual Arts Center for giving us the space for an open studio. And to our donors who allow the Heroes Art Sessions to happen at no cost to our families and to supply the artists with their materials.

Anna in clinic with Lisa

Today’s Helping Hero: Anna

Today’s Helping Hero is Anna! A childhood cancer hero is giving back to kids in treatment.

In 2013, shortly after her 7th birthday, doctors diagnosed Anna with a brain tumor. She got through a long difficult treatment. Connor’s Heroes was honored to help her family. Anna’s favorite activity were the Connor’s Heroes Heroes Art Sessions. And they still are! Anna is one of regular volunteers at the Heroes Art Sessions. She works side by side with children currently in treatment.

It was Anna’s passion for art and compassion for fellow childhood cancer heroes that she thought of Connor’s Heroes for her high school senior year project. For her project, Anna created grab-n-go art kits. Inside the pouch are art supplies for bedside crafts for a specific age group — from toddler to teen. Meredith and Jillian are giving the art kits to a child who craves creativity to beat the boredom of cancer.

If you are a high school senior in need of a senior project, contact Connor’s Heroes with your idea. You might be our next Helping Hero! Read our Volunteering FAQ to see how you can start: https://www.connorsheroes.org/volunteer-faqs/

a little boy stands next to Santa

Holiday on Hermitage!

2023 Holiday Hero Open House

Holiday On Hermitage

Connor’s Heroes was excited to host our Holiday Open House in our office on the corner of Hermitage and Broad Street — not far from the hospital. We opened our doors and invited every family whose child is in active treatment for cancer over the holidays.

“Are you ready to see Santa?”

The most magical part of the day was our very own Santa. Santa spent the day with us doing what he does best: listening to a child’s holiday wishes and posing for pictures. Some kids jumped right onto Santa’s lap. Sweet Harcum needed a gentle coaxing before he nestled up to Saint Nick.

The children and parents built sugary gingerbread houses out of milk cartons, graham crackers, gum drops, and candies (a classic craft for the holidays). Each child made a holiday ornament of a snow globe with their picture in the middle! It will be a keepsake ornament for years to come.

The Local Cup Coffee Co rolled into our parking lot. Families (and Santa) treated themselves to delicious coffee, hot cocoa, and pastries.

Celia gave every parent a much-needed $250 Visa gift card for holiday expenses. A family walked out of the Holiday Open House with their arms full of presents and their hearts filled with joy.

2023 Pictures With Santa

Harcum Meets Santa

Four-year-old Harcum (nicknamed “Turtle”) wasn’t sure about meeting Santa. He knew what he wanted for Christmas (spoiler: a nerf gun), but did he have the courage to ask Santa? With some coaxing by his grandma, Santa’s elf, and Twizzlers, Harcum slowly inched closer and closer until he stood right next to Santa himself. Harcum even let Grandma take a picture. What a beautiful holiday memory!

a grandmother talks to her grandson
Harcum stood outside Santa's door deciding what to do. Grandma encourages him to step inside and meet Santa.
a boy stares at Santa
Step by step, Harcum slowy made his way to Santa.
a little boy stands next to Santa
Harcum finally got close enough to Santa to give him his favorite candy, a Twizzler!
a boy and his grandmother stand next to santa
Success!!! Harcum met Santa and even posed for a photo.

Thank You To Our Holiday Heroes

Over the holidays, parents and caregivers are juggling the emotional stress of their child’s diagnosis with the financial stress of giving their family the holiday they deserve after a difficult year. The Holiday Hero Fund provided each family in active treatment a $250 VISA gift card, tickets to Lewis Ginter GardenFest of Lights, and presents from their holiday wish lists.

The Holiday Heroes Fund was fully funded thanks to our community of heroes, especially. Cathy Heizer and her family, Marla and Jack Fergerson and The Richmond Christmas Mother Fund. Below is the long list of caring people who donated to the 2023 Holiday Hero Fund:

Accent Professional Recruiting LLC • Peyton Adams • Robbie Andrews • Barbara Antoskow • AT&T Services • Ben Baxter • Jennifer Bennett • Beyond The Entertainer • Neil Biller • Tim Bishop • Adam Blackwell • Thomas and Bethany Block • Mike Brammer • Don Bray • Trip Chalkley • Donald Coleman • Commercial Plastering and Drywall • Stuart Craft • Trevor Denton • Davis Durrett • Laura Earley • Jack and Marla Fergerson • Jake Fiesler • Matt and Tammy Griffin • Linda Harris • Keith Harvey • Cathy Heizer • Jim Heizer • Justin Heizer • Help Charities Inc. • Chad Hollins • Neal Hollins • Vicki Huber • Hudson Group Realty • Tim Kelley • Carl King • Cherie Lane • Linda Loverro • Ross Luck • Dan and Celia Martin • Lynn McCoy • Tim and Ashley Menninger • Doug Michel • Elizabeth Minter • Kathy Morton • Kenneth Murray • Old Dominion Drywall • Jennifer Owen • William Payne • Anthony Pelling • Randall Peyton • Jason Pritchard • John Pritchard • Sandra • Tim Shelton • Jeff Smith • Jeff Stallings • Brian Steveson • Susan Mclauchlan Jewelers • Breakthru Beverage • Michael and Jennifer Tolley • Gail Warren Weymouth • Dave Werner • Doug Wilberger

Thank you to the talented photographers who captured these special holiday moments: Hysell Photography, LaLovely Photography, Angela and Sheldon.

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Cathy (left) and Marla (right), their granddaughters, and Santa!


Introducing Jillian, Connor's Heroes New Program Director

hi i'm jillian and photo of connor's heroes new program director

Say “hi” to the newest member of the Connor’s Heroes team: Jillian Carpenter. On Monday, January 8, 2024, Jillian will formally begin her role as Connor’s Heroes Program Director.

Jillian has a Masters of Social Work. She is a clinician, educator, and community liaison with more than a decade of experience. In college and graduate school, she worked with pediatric oncology patients and their families. Prior to joining Connor’s Heroes, she served as an Assistant Professor in Teaching at the VCU School of Social Work. She is a member of the board at Full Circle Grief Center.

“I have been a supporter of Connor’s Heroes since I became a volunteer over ten years ago. In my role as Program Director, I hope to help children and families feel less alone by companioning them with warmth and compassion. I look forward to building relationships to provide support that feels validating and helpful.”

Jillian will welcome a family to Connor’s Heroes after their child’s diagnosis. She will get to know a family and offer emotional and financial support specific to a family’s situation. Jillian will work closely with Meredith Burns, the Child Life Specialist at CHoR.


Learn More About Jillian:

What are three words that best describe you?
Compassionate, thoughtful, and collaborative.

What is something you love to do that most people would never imagine:
I enjoy beach combing and collecting sea glass, shells and pottery while imagining the journey these objects took to get to this exact point of collection. I also love to read books that include magic realism!

The best thing someone ever taught you:
Two things can be true at the same time — both/and thinking.

Your favorite singer:
Judah And The Lion

Purple and pink logo for Heroes Art Ball on Friday May 3, 2024

13th Annual Heroes Art Ball - Save The Date

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Countdown to 13th Annual Heroes Art Ball

Put this date on your calendar! The 13th Annual Heroes Art Ball will happen on Friday, May 3, 2024 in the elegant John Marshall Ballrooms. Sponsorship opportunities will be coming soon. Tickets will go on sale in March 2024.

The Heroes Art Ball is a magical night that brings together our hero families with the volunteers, researchers, the community who support them, and YOU.

You don’t have to wait for tickets to go on sale to be a part of the 13th Annual Heroes Art Ball. Here are three ways you can join in today.

1 – If you work or own a company who cares about children — especially children in your community — this is your year to be a corporate sponsor. Sponsorship levels start at $1,000 and give you generous perks, like a reserved table for your guests. Contact Celia Martin at celia@connorsheroes.org for more information.

2 – If you have a product, service, or talent, you can donate to our online silent auction. Email admin@connorsheroes.org to arrange your donation.

3 – If you like volunteering, join the Heroes Art Ball Planning Committee. Meetings are about once a month in person or on zoom. Email Celia at celia@connorsheroes.org and tell her you’re interested.

Bookmark The Event Website

A girl is rolling dough into a pizza

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Party

Childhood Cancer Heroes Love Pizza!

A boy is eating a slice of pepperoni
Photo credit: Angela Justiniano
A boy carries his pizza into the kitchen
Photo credit: Wade Hysell

Connor’s Heroes hosted its 4th Annual Make and Bake Your Own Pizza Party at Mellow Mushroom. It is one of our most popular events with our childhood cancer hero families. We invite children in treatment for cancer and those who are now post treatment. More than 100 hero family members came! Everyone had a great time because, who doesn’t love pizza?

Mellow Mushroom staff were so kind and generous to every family. They showed the secret to rolling out the dough. They set each family’s table with sauce, their favorite toppings, and plenty of cheese. With their cute aprons and chef hats on, the children carried their pizzas to the kitchen. The kids loved to see their pizza slide into the hot oven and come out exactly as they wanted it.

Our childhood cancer hero families thank you for giving them this fun event!

Thank you to Susan and the staff at Mellow Mushroom in Midlothian.

Helping Hero volunteers: Wade Hysell and Angela for taking photos and Katie Tyson and Olivia for helping the families.

Childhood Cancer Heroes: Alvion, Ariana, Augustine, Austin, Brianne, Charlotte, Dayanne, Javi, John, Joshua, Kennedy, Nalani, Nikola, Owen, Shyann, TayNeise, Valentin

Check out Mellow Mushrooms website  https://mellowmushroom.com/location/va-midlothian-1409-huguenot-road-23113/ for their hours, menu, and delivery.

A boy jumps in the air with happiness
Photo credit: Wade Hysell

Three people standing together after accepting an award

2023 Hero Squad Soiree

Three people standing together after accepting an award
The top 3 fundraisers of the 2023 Hero Squad: Joe • Virginia • Eric

Hero Squad Continues Its Streak

The 2023 Hero Squad raised an incredible $45,444 for local children battling cancer and Connor’s Heroes. Double it’s initial goal of $20,000. The money they raised will be used to give a Heroes Bag and Backpack to a family after their child’s diagnosis, a gift card for their favorite grocery store, and decorating a hospital room when a child is admitted for a bone marrow transplant.

The Hero Squad donors will support the important work done by Connor’s Heroes to help every child registered and in active treatment.

With a fundraiser this successful, we had to celebrate. We hosted a party at The Urban Roost Garden in Scott’s Addition in honor of the 2023 Hero Squad and their donors. The popular bluegrass group, The Hot Seats, were the perfect fit for the party.

Man talking to people at a party

Because He Wore His Be A Hero Shirt

Thomas Block was a member of the 2023 Hero Squad. He joined to give back for the support his family received from Connor’s Heroes throughout his daughter Charlotte’s treatment. Thomas told us about when he left the gym this morning, someone stopped him in the parking lot. She recognized his Be A Hero shirt. He used the moment to tell her about Charlotte and Connor’s Heroes. He thanked his fellow Hero Squad for being heroes to his daughter and every child in treatment today.

Celia, Executive Director, proudly recognized the top three fundraisers: Joe Dyer, Eric Strahs, and Virginia Podboy.

2023 Hero Squad

Bridget Reardon • Brooke Hall • Colleen WInfree • Connor Goodwin • Eric Strahs/ Once Upon A Child • Greg Colizzi • Jennifer Tolley • Jennings Dawson • Joe Dyer • KK Harris • Lauren Edwards • Lindsey Hollett • Liza Shands • Maggie Wilhelm • Mary Gleeson • Mike Koontz • Reilly Monroe • Tim Dearing • Tom Block • Virginia Podboy

Join The Hero Squad

The Hero Squad is made up of professionals who have a heart for philanthropy. As a member of the Hero Squad, you commit to raise $1,000 for children with cancer in September for September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Jr. Hero Squad is open to preschool through high school students who try to aise $500 during the summer. READ MORE: www.connorsheroes.org/hero-squad/