September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and RiverFront’s Vanessa Straughn is on the Hero Squad for Connor’s Heroes. Her goal is to raise $1000 for the RiverFront 2021 Charitable Giving Partner. Connor’s Heroes was founded in 2006 as a salute to Connor Goodwin, who triumphed after 2-1/2 years of cancer treatment as a preschooler. Today, Connor’s Heroes is a Richmond, Virginia-based nonprofit dedicated to helping families in Central Virginia cope with childhood cancer and our community’s researchers conquer it. Their mission is to build a community of heroes who provide hope, guidance, and support to children with cancer and their families.
Here is Vanessa’s Story:
“Cancer has touched my life personally on many levels. I had a cancer diagnosis in 2016 but before that, close friends were told their child had cancer. Those are words you never expect to hear. Their world came to a complete halt. Watching our friends after they received the news and not knowing what to do or how to help, broke our hearts. Our daughter and Charlie were in school together since 1st grade and we just could not believe the news or figure out what we could do to support them. We provided meals, sold bracelets, cleaned their house, but it just didn’t feel like enough.
Then I found out that my friend had registered with Connor’s Heroes. This organization provides support to these families whose worlds are upside down by giving gift cards for gas, groceries, and restaurants; providing family-friendly space in the bone marrow transplant unit; clinic crafts, coffee, and lunch; decorating children’s hospital rooms. Connor’s Heroes is a small but mighty organization and I found out I could support them by volunteering my time. RiverFront Investment Group allowed me to do so by giving associates monthly volunteer time. I was able to walk to the hospital and help in the clinic from my office during a workday. Then things shut down due to COVID-19, and Connor’s Heroes had to get creative with the ways they support their families. I thought, why not nominate them for RiverFront’s charitable giving partner and get them some monetary support? And it happened! So now not only is Connor’s Heroes our 2021 Charitable Partner but I am also raising funds for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month as a member of their Hero Squad. It all comes full circle for me.
And once the new Children’s Hospital of Virginia is complete, there will be 5 rooms designed with Connor’s Heroes families, healthcare teams, and researchers in mind!”