Yes, the snow is beautiful, but it does pose challenges for our families who travel for their child's treatment. One of our teenagers lives in the Tidewater region but receives treatment in Richmond. The family stayed at The Doorways, which provides lodging for patients and their families who live out of town but need to be in the area for treatment. When the last snowfall hit, the family needed Connor's Heroes help. Mom, who was stuck 100 miles away, texted Erin a list of groceries. Erin braved the crowds at the grocery store, used donated gift cards, and purchased what they needed. Within 24 hours of mom's text, the family had the groceries. This is what Connor's Heroes does every day. You allow Erin to develop a relationship with our families. She gets to know them. Then, she finds the programs and volunteers who can help without overwhelming the family at a difficult time.
We love supporting the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Division at VCU. They were well-represented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) this past December. Dr. Corey chaired a session on Congenital and Acquired Neutropenia. Dr. Usua Oyarbide presented a poster abstract relating to her research with zebrafish. Dr. Matt Schefft spoke on the topic of reducing hospital admission rates through individualized pain plans. It was quite an honor for Dr. Schefft to be selected as a speaker at this meeting, which had over 25,000 hematology specialists from all over the world in attendance. Here in Richmond Dr. Schefft serves as assistant professor with a focus on Quality Improvement for our pediatric oncology patients. Specifically, he is working on reducing the risk of infection in children with cancer, improving recognition and treatment of infection when it does occur, and determining which children are at low risk of infection and can safely go home. In his spare time, Dr. Schefft enjoys cycling, basketball, visiting breweries, and running around with his boys.
RVA Cures is our website dedicated to the progress of pediatric cancer research in Richmond. Our area finally has a research lab dedicated to childhood cancer thanks to donations to the Connor's Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.
Our hero families had a great time at our December Art Session hosted by Connor's Heroes at the Visual Arts Center. Parents appreciate the fact that Connor's Heroes understands the challenges in planning events for children with life-threatening diseases. We take precautions for children whose immunize systems are fragile. We make sure the space is handicap accessible. We understand if a parent cancels because her child was taken to the emergency room. We understand because we, too, are childhood cancer parents. Thank you to our volunteers who work with kids and give the families this special time together.
Thank you to Venus Bolton and Mackenzie Corrigan for leading our new Parents Auxiliary Committee (PAC). Over the holiday, they held a Parent's Night Out and Ice Skating Party at the Rink at West Broad Village, which donated free skating passes. Eight hero families enjoyed the night together. Hero Moms and Dads snuck out to shop around the Short Pump area. Volunteers skated with the kids and made crafts. They shared a special moment of eating donuts in memory of sweet Thomas. It's an annual tradition for Thomas's grandmother, aunt and uncle to donate special treats that Thomas would have loved to share with his hero friends. The PAC is planning more outings in 2018. Your gifts support the personalized outreach that Connor's Heroes brings to our special families.
When one mom got off the bus after the tacky lights tour, she gave Lisa a big hug. Earlier that week, she received some disappointing news about her daughter's treatment. They definitely needed some holiday cheer. They found it on Connor's Heroes annual Tacky Holiday Lights tour. We had 12 families joining us on the bus. They sang holiday carols and enjoyed a catered dinner. It was magical to see the children (and adults) press their faces to the windows to get a closer look at all the beautifully decorated houses. For a few hours, you let them forget about doctors, clinics, and chemo. Thank you for giving our families a special holiday memory.
We want to thank the Richmond Christmas Mother and Winn Transportation for helping make this event possible. Captain Dan has driven the tour bus every year and always refuses to accept a tip. He even took a detour and treated us to Country Style Donuts! Another example of how easy it is to be a hero to a child battling cancer.
Twelve hero families will receive gifts at Christmastime thanks to the generosity of Richmond's caring community. It's a Hero Tree - with each child's family having Christmas despite being in the hospital or financial stress from medical bills and the unexpected expenses of a life-threatening disease. It's not just gifts for the kids. Parents receive presents, too. Thank you to The Strum Group, Village Concepts Realty Group, Joyner Fine Properties, McGuireWoods Consulting Accounting Department and an anonymous volunteer.
Today's Helping Hero: The employees of VML Insurance Programs. They delivered to our office three boxes full of stuffed animals, crafts, games and gift cards. If that wasn't all, they wrote a check to cover the costs of iPads for the next four children diagnosed with cancer. The kids love opening up our Heroes Backpack and finding an ipad inside. With free wifi at the hospital, they use the ipad to play games, chat with friends and even keep up on school work. Thank you!
Obadiah is a 2-year-old boy who plays with trucks and anything that spins. Over the summer, the family registered him with Connor's Heroes after he was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor. Immediately, they received an outpouring of support from our community of heroes. Ashton, Obadiah's mom, was grateful for the ways Connor's Heroes is easing the burden of cancer on her family. This is an entry on her blog where she talks about Obadiah's journey.
Connor’s Heroes has been so kind to us!!
Most of you have heard us talk about Connor’s Heroes before and to learn more about the amazing work they do to help families with children who have cancer please visit their site: connorsheroes.org
We just wanted to take a moment and say thank you SO much for the many ways they have served our family and help link us with other families going through battling cancer. We have felt so cared for by the organization and the beautiful people who work there. We have had the joy to meet a woman named Erin who works with the organization and has gone above and beyond in seeing that we are cared for. She has visited us many times in clinic and every week reaches out with fun family events, just checking to see how we are and linking us up with business owners around the city who have graciously offered help for free to us.
One of the business owners, Derek, who owns Farm House Salons offered to cut Ashton’s hair of no cost in order to serve us and he did an incredible job! If anyone is looking for a talented and kind hairdresser schedule an appointment with Derek.
Another business owner is Bonnie from Five Star Maids. They offered to clean our whole house of no charge just to serve our family and they did such a fantastic job! Their crew was also so kind and went above and beyond to make our house clean just in time for Ob’s chemo. We are so very grateful!
Thank you, Connor’s Heroes for knowing the needs of families going through this difficult time and extending hands of support and help that really do bring so much relief. We are forever grateful for the ways you have stepped into our lives and offered help!
Many of you are as passionate about childhood cancer research as we are at Connor’s Heroes. Let’s face it, we want a world where NO PARENT ever hears the words, “Your child has cancer.” You can direct your passion to Richmond’s first and only research facility focused on childhood cancer. It’s here thanks, in part, to Connor’s Heroes. But mostly because of you! Leading the team of researchers is Dr. Seth Corey. He and Lisa work closely together to make sure that the voices of cancer's youngest patients, our childhood heroes, are heard throughout Richmond's medical community. Educate yourself on the facts of pediatric cancer:*
You can give in support of pediatric cancer research that is happening in Richmond. You can donate to Connor's Heroes and request the funds are directed to research.
*Source: RVA Cures exhibit at UR Gallery Downtown.
TayNeise will live with the effects of cancer for the rest of her life. She needs hope and a hero. Your gift to Connor’s Heroes provides both.
Tay started battling leukemia when she was just nine years old. Her grandmother Mary has been by her side throughout her journey and so have you. Your gift to Connor's Heroes means that children like Tay and her family will never be alone in their fight. Your donation helps Connor's Heroes provide:
A helping hand thanks to a volunteer who mowed Mary’s lawn while she lived in the hospital during Tay’s bone marrow transplant;
Hundreds of dollars in gift cards for gas, groceries, and online shopping to help with the family’s household expenses;
A hospital room decorated just for Tay that volunteers filled with the comforts of home as she and Mary prepared for their long hospital stay; and
Richmond’s first and only research facility for pediatric cancer funded in part by the Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund and the Jamie Hess Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Fund. Researchers are working to discover cures and treatments that will benefit children like Tay worldwide.
YOU can be the hero who supports the next parent who hears the words, “Your child has cancer.” The gift you make today will make a difference to all families in Central Virginia who look to Connor’s Heroes for hope, guidance, and support.
Lisa S. Goodwin
Founder, Executive Director, and Connor’s Mom
Donate to Connor's Heroes Annual Giving Campaign Online
Mail a check to PO Box 2536 Midlothian VA 23113
Call our office at (804) 897-1272.
Pic credit: Kristin Seward, Lens of Hope