Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Family Movie Day

Heroes for Children and Studio Movie Grill welcomed over 160 excited moviegoers from across the DFW Metroplex, to the 2nd Annual HFC Family Movie Day on Saturday, June 26, for an exclusive viewing of Toy Story 3 in 3-D. Doors opened at 10 a.m. with the first arrivals greeted by HFC staff, volunteers and free movie-rental gift cards courtesy of Blockbuster. A total of 29 HFC families were treated to a complimentary buffet of drinks, pizza and popcorn prior to showtime as they prepared to feast their eyes in 3-D style! And the movie review? Seven-year-old cancer patient, Brooke, and her brother Brayden gave it two thumbs up!!

Each family walked away with a handful of goodies in Toy Story 3 themed party favors, donated by HFC Friends Movie Chair Lauren Sutherland and volunteers. Special thanks to Studio Movie Grill for accomodating our record attendance level, allowing every family to take part in this special day. Also a big thank you to 2010 Movie Day Chair, Lauren Sutherland, and all the HFC Friends that volunteered to help make this year's Family Movie Day such a success!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June Volunteers of the Month

Expanding into Houston has been a major focus of Heroes for Children for the last few years. Last year, we were fortunate to hire Mimi Bates as our Houston Manager togrow and expand our fundraising efforts further into the Houston market. Mimi has done a tremendous job, but it is with the help of many volunteers and donors that she is able to succeed. Working with her in the expansion efforts are Kristi Oldham and Linda Elmer. Both Kristi and Linda have been involved with Heroes for Children for several years, working with the Heroes and Handbags committee. In the past year, Kristi and Linda have been the co-chairs of the Heart of a Hero fundraising campaign. Heart of a Hero is a donor giving group and campaign encouraging donations $500 and over. Through their work, new people learned about our organization and mission. Kristi and Linda have been invaluable to both Mimi in guidance as well as to the entire success of Heroes for Children. We are very grateful to have such tremendous women partnering with us!

Name, Occupation:
Kristi K. Oldham
Stay at home mom

Linda Folkerth Elmer
Homemaker and Compulsive Volunteer

How did you get involved with HFC?Kristi--Through dear friends sharing the love for the mission of HFC

Linda--My college friend Shelley Beckman emailed me 5 years ago about an amazing organization she was involved in, in my hometown of Dallas that was coming to Houston with a fabulous event involving handbags. She had me hooked after hearing Jenny & Larissa’s stories…

Do you have any kids and/or pets?Kristi--2 boys
Kenan- 7
Oliver- 4
Scout- German Short Hair Pointer- 8 months

Linda--I have an 8 (almost 9!) year old son, Sam and a 6 (almost 7!) year old daughter, Addie. We hope to add a dog to family sometime soon!

From looking at you, no one would guess that…..
Kristi--I would have loved to be a disco diva superstar way back in the day

Linda-- I LOVE scary movies. I host a grown-up party every year and the theme is based on a different scary movie – “Psycho,” “The Shining,’ “Carrie,” this year theme is “The Birds!”

Favorite place to eat:
Kristi--Any clean restaurant with fresh sushi (less than 24 hours old)

Linda--Azuma or any Japanese restaurant.

What’s on your book shelf?
Kristi--Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Linda-- Easy summer reads: “Get Lucky” by Katherine Center; “A Soft Place to Land” by Susan Rebecca White
And, “7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons” by Meg Meeker – I have a soon-to-be 4th grade boy - yikes!

What’s in your iPod/CD changer?Kristi--Lots of euro disco and Nora Jones

Linda--Everything from Madonna and classic 80’s to Linkin Park & Ludacris and, of, course, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber – I have kids!

Who’s your hero?
Kristi--My sweet husband, Mike

Linda-My parents, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 12th. They truly demonstrate the dedication and respect needed for a fulfilling marriage. They introduced me and my two siblings to community service as children when they were heavily involved in our school PTA and spearheaded our playground reconstruction. It showed us how fun it is to help others and be part of changing their lives forever.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here's to the Dads! True Heroes for Children

Father's Day is Sunday and to celebrate we wanted to spotlight a dad who is truly a hero for his son, Blake, and to all of the families who have been helped by HFC.

Jim Lieberman and his family have been through a lot this past year. Their son Blake was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma in February, but through it all they have had a fighting spirit and a gracious attitude.
When I first met the Liebermans I could tell right away that they had and would do anything and everything to help Blake and children like him.

When we asked Jim to speak at HFC's largest fundraiser, Heroes and Handbags, he didn't think twice before saying "Yes!" When asked if he was sure that he could handle speaking to a group of over 400 guests he said, "Blake has had to do a lot of things this past year that he hasn't wanted to, so now it's my turn. "

Although he is a Katy police officer and not a public speaker, he would have fooled us! He gave an eloquent, touching and memorable speech that brought most everybody in attendance to tears.

He recounted Blake's journey through cancer treatment and about the other families who are in the same battle who they have grown close to, and how needed Heroes for Children's assistance is to them. He brought a real face to the families all over Texas who are fighting with their children against this devastating disease.

So here's to ALL of the amazing dads who are fighting along with Jim and his family to bring their children through treatment and into a cancer-free future!

Have a happy and joyful Father's Day, you deserve it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Team Connor

Connor Cruse was an active, fun loving four year old little boy. After complaining of a stomach ache for a few days, his Mom, Joy, took him to the hospital. It was a day that the entire family would remember forever, the day they heard from the doctor, “Your son has cancer.”Connor was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma which is one of the most common solid tumors of early childhood usually found in babies or young children. Most patients, including Connor, have a widespread disease at diagnosis, with a dismal prognosis of 30% survival.

Connor underwent two autonomous stem cell transplants, numerous surgeries, and almost constant chemotherapy beginning immediately following that one dreadful day. He received treatment in Dallas, Boston, New York, Houston, and Guatemala. Joy and Tait spent four years of frantic searching for any treatment that would arrest this disease. There were no special experts guiding them. They were faced with making numerous crucial decisions concerning Connor’s medical care. They did their own research and phoned other parents who had children with Neuroblastoma in order to find trials and experimental treatments that might save little Connor's life.

Despite the heroic efforts of his parents and Connor’s fighting spirit, Connor lost his battle with Neuroblastoma on July 10, 2009.

Connor's parents witnessed first hand the devastating effects of childhood cancer. They learned that most chilhood cancer treatments have improved very little in the past 20 years. This is completely unaccepatable and they have made it their mission to work to change these numbers. Joy and Tait Cruse formed Team Connor, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness of childhood cancer,support families, fund research and treatment programs and find a cure for childhood cancer.

One of Team Connor's annual fundraisers is a golf tournament. In conjunction with the tourney, a dinner with a live & silent auction is held the night before at Three Forks restaraunt in Dallas. Three Forks is a generous sponsor of Team Connor. Team Connor does a "Call to Cash" at the dinner and this year they chose Heroes for Children as the recipient of the "Call to Cash." Their goal was to raise at least $10,000 for HFC during this time. I had the oppurtunity to attend the dinner and speak at the event. Brad Simons, father to five year old Summer Simons, a darling little girl who has battled AML, also spoke at the dinner. Brad spoke of the help he and his family have received from Heroes for Children. Brad said the assistance not only helped his family pay bills, but it helped keep their family together and preserved his marriage by aleviating stress in their lives. Click HERE to follow Summer's story.

The dinner was a great night and alot of money was raised for Heroes for Children and Team Connor. Pete Delkus, local weatherman from WFAA in Dallas, was the emcee of the event. Rick Stacy, owner of Stacy's Furniture, was the live auctioneer. Rick had the crowd in stitches with his one liners during the auction. The two men did a great job, and truly have a heart for childhood cancer.

Heroes for Children and Team Connor make a great TEAM in helping families who have a child with cancer while supporting funding and research for a cure.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Many families just finished graduation celebrations for their children and grandchildren, but for McKenna's family, celebrating her graduation was extra special. McKenna has been battling a form of cancer called Ewings Sarcoma and graduation was a BIG DEAL, and her family wanted to throw her a graduation dinner to celebrate. Heroes for Children helped the family honor McKenna by fulfilling their request through HFC's Heroes Milestones program. McKenna and her family invited family and friends to dinner the Sunday following her graduation to celebrate this milestone in McKenna's life. However, McKenna almost missed her own party!

Unfortunately when dealing with cancer you, little things can cause big consequences. After attending graduation on Friday, McKenna tripped and fell and skinned her knees. She brushed it off and continued on with her day, but the next morning she wasn't feeling well and started running a temperature (which gets you an automatic trip to the ER when you are battling cancer.) At the hospital, McKenna found out her blood counts were low and she had to be admitted to the hospital overnight. She wouldn't be released until her blood test results confirmed that her counts were back up.  She spent Saturday night in the hospital and was hoping that she would be released in time for her graduation party Sunday evening.  Luckily her counts climbed back high enough that they released her just in time for her graduation dinner.  And what a celebration it was!! 

While at the dinner, Heroes for Children presented McKenna with a Laptop through the Laptops for Love program, which provides laptops to teens battling cancer. McKenna was very excited to receive the laptop - she plans to stay in touch with her friends and use it while attending college in the fall.  McKenna is just one of many children Heroes for Children helps through its social assistance programs.  To learn more, visit our website at http://www.heroesforchildren.org/.