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.

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