Kids make a difference in fight against childhood cancer

Frisco couple hosts first TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation Junior Advisory Board meeting

Back Row/Left – Right: TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation Junior Advisory Board members Mariah Fluellen (Frisco); Emily Baldwin (Plano); Brooke Gorman (Plano); Caitlyn Coker (Murphy); Avery Doyle (Carrollton); Justin Webster (Fairview); Sayers Collins (Frisco); MacKenzie Cruse (Frisco); Nathan Alvey (Richardson). Front Row/Left – Right: Hays Collins (Frisco); MacKenzie Matthews (Prosper); TeamConnor executive director Jennifer Koi Bolton (Plano); Julius Randle (Plano); TeamConnor founder Joy Cruse (Frisco); Jordan Webster (Fairview); Carson Cruse (Frisco); Mollie-Claire Matthews (Prosper). Not pictured Trinity Haile (Hamilton). Photos by David Alvey.

October 4, 2012 – More than a dozen young people, ranging in age from nine to 17 years of age, met at the Frisco home of Joy and Tait Cruse for the inaugural meeting of the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation Junior Advisory Board.

After a brief introduction on the four-year-old non-profit organization’s mission, TeamConnor founder Joy Cruse led the kids in a brainstorming session to develop new ideas for fundraisers and raising awareness.

“On average, one in every four elementary schools in the U.S. has a student battling cancer,” said Jennifer Bolton, TeamConnor’s executive director. “Odds are good that most kids either know a child that’s fighting cancer or they know about one who lost their battle with this insidious disease. We want to give kids a voice. We want to empower them to fight back. But we also sincerely want their fresh insights into how we can reach more people to help find cures and better treatment options for childhood cancers. We got some great ideas from the kids at the first meeting. We plan to meet with them quarterly to tap into their creativity and boundless energy.”

TeamConnor communications coordinator Shay Allen holds a laptop so Junior Advisory Board member Trinity Haile could join in the discussion via Skype. Trinity lives in Hamilton (about 125 miles southwest of DFW) and was unable to attend in person.

An easy fundraiser for school-aged children is the Coins for Kids with Cancer program. The fundraiser is simple and easy to implement and typically lasts one month. Each class is supplied a container to collect loose change. At the end of the month, all the money raised by each class is totaled and the class with the most money wins a celebration party. It also provides the schools an opportunity to honor a student who is a cancer patient or survivor. More information on setting up a Coins for Kids with Cancer program is online at http://teamconnor.org/event/coins-for-kids-with-cancer/

Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children, yet the budget of the National Cancer Institute allocates only 3% of its funds to pediatric cancer research. The TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and funding research and treatment programs to find a cure for all childhood cancers.

Prestonwood Christian Academy senior (and one of the top 5 high school basketball prospects in the country) Julius Randle reviews material about TeamConnor.

On Saturday, October 6, TeamConnor will host the Color Me Green 5K & Caterpillar Dash in The Square in Frisco. People of all speeds, ages, shapes and sizes are encouraged to participate.

The Purple Cow Restaurants in Dallas, Plano and Fairview are donating 15-percent of all sales October 23 – 25 to TeamConnor.

Shooters 16 years of age and older are invited to participate in the 2nd Annual TeamConnor Clay Shoot, November 8, at the Dallas Gun Club in Lewisville. More info at http://teamconnor.org/event/527/

TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation was named after 8-year-old Connor Cruse of Frisco, Texas who died in 2009 after a four year battle with neuroblastoma.

For more information, visit www.teamconnor.org or find TeamConnor Cancer Foundation on Facebook.

Story and photos by David Alvey.

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