Richmond magazine - August 2021

Page 212

BOLD WOMEN OF RICHMOND

“We made a really important decision to start providing the highest level of financial assistance.”

A NONPROFIT FOUNDED IN

Reaching Out With Care Packages CELIA TETLOW MARTIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONNOR’S HEROES CONNORSHEROES.ORG

SPONSORED BY

18

2006,

Connor’s Heroes is named in honor of Connor Goodwin, a childhood cancer survivor. The group is dedicated to supporting childhood cancer families, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. “Our mission is to provide hope, guidance and support,” says Celia Tetlow Martin, the organization’s executive director. “We are right by their side.” At the onset of COVID-19, Martin focused on what she could control. “I frequently tried to remind myself that there were things that I could do to ease the burden for those around me, especially our childhood cancer families, as well as my staff.” Despite the challenges the pandemic presented, Martin and her “small but mighty team” of four were able to provide care to families in need. “I think the hardest part was not being able to see our families in person,” she says. With socialdistancing restrictions in place, their volunteer program was put on pause, and Martin and her team were unable to hold

events or gatherings in support of their families. Tasked with figuring out how to show support from afar, Martin went to the board of directors and asked for a big move. “We made a really important decision to start providing the highest level of financial assistance to our families in the organization’s history,” she says. These funds went to meal deliveries, gas and grocery gift cards, and “family fun packs,” which are movie and game nights delivered right to a family’s doorstep. Though their fundraiser The Heroes Art Ball was cancelled, Martin and her team channeled their energies into a new initiative. They have started to fundraise and plan for Rooms Filled With Hope, five rooms on the children’s oncology and hematology floor in the Wonder Tower, which is an extension of The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, scheduled for completion in 2023. The Rooms Filled With Hope will provide safe and quiet spaces for childhood cancer families to unwind or gather in private areas away from the hub of hospital waiting rooms.

BOLD WOMEN OF RICHMOND

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