The 7th Annual Heroes Art Ball was an inspirational and fun-filled night. See all that happened in our four hours together. This year's gala raised $265,000, which is $65,000 more than last year's highly successful Heroes Art Ball. This year, Connor's Heroes committed to doubling the amount of support we offer our Hero families throughout all stages of treatment. In addition to our many other programs, families now receive a new ipad mini in the Heroes Backpack, up to $1,000 towards travel expenses for out-of-town treatments or second opinions, $500 for gas, groceries, and daily expenses for each year of their child's treatment, and $1,000 to the funeral home on behalf of a grieving family. Your generosity during the Heroes Art Ball will make a difference in the lives of our childhood cancer heroes.
The Heroes Art Ball is a fun-filled night not only for our childhood cancer families, but the community who support them. Our guests include people from all over the area - including a few who travel from North Carolina, Georgia and NOVA just for the gala! Doctors, researchers, and former patient families enjoy the evening with our board members, business leaders, and event sponsors. We all come together with the purpose of supporting the Heroes of RVA and research conducted in Richmond through the Connor's Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.
A treasured memento of the Heroes Art Ball is the portrait taken of each family. We are grateful to Jean Lua Photography, Focus on Joy Photography and Greg Wright for volunteering their time and talents to capture so many beautiful moments.
From Ariana to Zoey with Byron, Caleb, Charlie, Graeme, Olivia D., Olivia H., Rosalie, Tay, and William! See all the fun our childhood cancer heroes had at the 7th Annual Heroes Art Ball. Their families had a wonderful evening together thanks to you. Thank you to the volunteers who played with the kids in the Heroes Room that was sponsored by the Strum Group.
Thank you to Duck Donuts for their fundraiser "Quack Gives Back!" Love the name. Love the donuts. They raised enough money for a week's worth of groceries that we can give to a family in gift cards. When a family is desperately using every penny towards their child's survival, every bit of assistance goes a long way. If you are part of a local business who likes to give back to the Richmond community and is passionate about the children battling cancer, you, too, can host a fund raiser for Connor's Heroes. Email erin at connorsheroes dot org.
Recently, Lisa talked with Dr. Kelly Lastrapes, Assistant Professor of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Kelly received her undergraduate degree from William and Mary, and her medical degree from VCU/MCV School of Medicine. She completed residencies at Children's Hospital of New Orleans (LSU), and her fellowships in oncology and palliative care at VCU. As a native Richmonder, Dr. Lastrapes is happy to be back in her hometown with her family.
Lisa: Dr. Lastrapes, you are currently conducting some interesting research. Can you tell us a little about it?
Dr. Lastrapes: I am very interested in a medical condition called Delirium, which is a global brain dysfunction that is caused by having an underlying medical illness (like cancer). I am trying to understand who is most at risk to get Delirium, what are the long term effects of Delirium, and how we can best treat Delirium in pediatric patients.
Lisa: What are some of the symptoms of Delirium?
Dr. Lastrapes: Hallucinations, paranoia, and agitation are common symptoms. They are related to the underlying disease, medications, and an abnormal environment (e.g. a hospital room or ICU), including disrupted sleep cycles. There are neuro-cognitive implications for patients with Delirium, with potential long-term effects.
Lisa: I understand that there is some new research relating to adult Delirium, but that there is very little information on Delirium in the pediatric population. What are you currently studying?
Dr. Lastrapes: I'm doing a retrospective review of pediatric oncology patients over the past 10 years to determine whether they might have had Delirium that was not previously identified. I hope to use this information to help identify possible risk factors and to be able to look prospectively for potential interventions. If we are able to diagnose Delirium in our patients, then there are ways they can be treated to alleviate the symptoms or the condition altogether. For example, patients can be taught to utilize modifications when they are in the hospital for extended periods of time such as keeping the shades up during the day (to keep the sleep/wake cycle on track), keeping familiar objects and people nearby, and using re-orientation techniques (having a clock with the date and time on the wall). In some instances, a brief treatment course with anti-psychotic drugs can be helpful as well.
Lisa: What is your long-term goal for this research?
Dr. Lastrapes: I want to increase awareness of this debilitating disease to promote early diagnosis and treatment. I'm excited because CHoR has developed a Delirium Task Force in Pediatrics. We are getting ready to begin universal screening for Delirium in the Pediatric ICU.
Lisa: In addition to conducting research into Delirium and serving as a clinician to pediatric hematology/oncology patients, you spend quite a bit of your time focused on Palliative Care.
Dr. Lastrapes: Yes, I am really excited about our expanding supportive care team. When most people hear the term "palliative," they think "end of life." It's much more than that. We focus on symptom management and helping pediatric patients manage their illness by utilizing goals of care to improve patients' quality of life. I am working to help referring physicians and patient families understand that we are a care partner during the treatment of a life-threatening or complex medical condition. We are not simply a support system for a hospice patient.
Lisa: What do you like to do for fun and/or what is your favorite thing about Richmond?
Dr. Lastrapes: I love spending my free time with my family at Forest Hill Park (especially at the Farmer's Market). I am a former singer/dancer/thespian and love that my daughter has become quite the dancer and actress (in three short years).
Here's what a hero looks like! These are some of the guests of the Heroes Art Ball who made the night an incredible success. This year's ball raised the most money ever for childhood cancer families and Dr. Corey's research. Thank you to Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank, PLC for being our social media sponsor.
"Grateful!" That was the subject of Lisa's remarks made at the 7th Annual Heroes Art Ball. From the beginning, our community of heroes have raised up to support families who have a child battling cancer. This year's gala raised $265,000, which is $65,000 more than last year's highly successful Heroes Art Ball. Because of your generosity during this one night:
This year, Connor's Heroes committed ourselves to doubling the amount of support we offer our heroes throughout all stages of their treatments. Families now receive a new ipad mini in the Heroes Backpack, up to $1,000 towards travel expenses for out-of-town treatments or second opinions, $500 for gas, groceries, and daily expenses for each year of their child's treatment, and $1,000 to the funeral home on behalf of a grieving family.
Thank you for your generous outpouring of support and financial gifts to make sure that no young childhood cancer hero will face his/her battle alone. This gallery of photos is the beginning. Look for more photos on our website and social media sites throughout the week.
If you are a fan of TOMS footwear, then you will love the array of TOMS on our silent auction site. Each one was hand-painted by the children and artists of Connor's Heroes. Connor's Heroes is delighted to announce our most exciting silent auction yet! Everyone can bid right now, and from home if you cannot attend the Heroes Art Ball. Mobile and online bidding is fun, active, and completely secure! You can view and bid on TOMS, vacation packages, experiences, and apparel - all by using your smartphone or tablet. Purchase tickets, or register today! http://501auctions.com/heroesartball
TOMS donated by Saxon Shoes!
Last one before the Heroes Art Ball on May 5. In fact, you don't have to be at the Science Museum to bid on the art that our Heroes created. Everyone can bid right now, and from home if you cannot attend the Heroes Art Ball. Mobile and online bidding is fun, active and completely secure! You can view and bid on our unique Heroes Art Ball silent auction items by using your smartphone or tablet. Purchase tickets, or register, today! http://501auctions.com/heroesartball