Connor’s Heroes: A Beacon of Hope for Families Facing Childhood Cancer

In the heart of Central Virginia, amid the bustling cityscape of Richmond, lies a beacon of hope for families navigating the treacherous waters of childhood cancer. Connor’s Heroes, a nonprofit founded by Lisa and Steve Goodwin, stands as a testament to the power of community and compassion in the face of adversity. 

For over a decade, the organization – named in honor of the Goodwins’ son Connor who underwent treatment for Leukemia in 2003 – has been there to extend a helping hand and provide support for children with cancer and their families. From the moment a child is diagnosed, families receive a signature blue Connor’s Heroes backpack filled with essentials and comforting items, symbolizing the organization’s presence during their darkest days.

Executive Director Celia Tetlow Martin started as a volunteer and board member and her journey with Connor’s Heroes spans 14 years, culminating in her leadership role. Her passion for the cause is palpable as she recounts her initial encounter with the organization during a team-building activity fresh out of college. 

“Something clicked within me, and I knew I wanted to be part of Connor’s Heroes,” Martin said. “We meet families where they’re at and support them in the unique ways they need.”

Whether it’s financial assistance, emotional support or celebrating milestones, Connor’s Heroes is there every step of the way. Gas and grocery cards, travel funds for clinical trials and bereavement support are just a few examples of the tangible, financial assistance provided to families facing the unimaginable.

However, Connor’s Heroes’ impact extends beyond mere survival; it encompasses the holistic wellbeing of the entire family. Recognizing the often-overlooked needs of siblings, the organization ensures they are included in the support system. Family fun packs, spa nights and movie nights offer moments of respite and togetherness, emphasizing the importance of nurturing bonds and creating cherished memories.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, but Connor’s Heroes remained steadfast in its mission. While face-to-face interactions were limited, the organization continued to offer vital financial support and adapted its programs to meet the evolving needs of families. Just because a global pandemic was shaking things up, childhood cancer diagnoses were not stopping. The well-known blue backpacks were still assembled and distributed to families going through inpatient services.

Looking ahead, Connor’s Heroes envisions a future where childhood cancer is no longer a reality. While it’s honored to provide relief and support to families in need, the organization also invests in research aimed to eradicate the disease altogether. 

One important way it raises money for its services is the Annual Heroes Ball. Now in its 13th year, the event is more than just a fundraiser; it’s a celebration of resilience, compassion and the indomitable human spirit. From artists lending their talents to volunteers stuffing backpacks, every contribution helps in the fight against childhood cancer. Stay tuned for details about the 13th Annual Heroes Ball on May 3, 2024, here.

“It’s about bringing a little joy and realizing there will be joy along this really difficult road,” Martin said. 

To learn more about Connor’s Heroes and get involved, visit www.connorsheroes.org

1 comment
  1. A very well written testament to the power of how a few can make a big difference in the lives of many. Kudos to the folks of Connor’s Heroes, was well as the intern, Jackson Amirshahi, who wrote this piece.

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