Have you heard of a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund and wondered what it was — and maybe whether you should have one? Here are the basics, along with how a few families feel about their experience.
The holiday season is about giving – and what better gift for your loved ones than something that helps a great cause, like taking childhood back from cancer. Not only are the items below awesome gift ideas, but a portion of each sale goes to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Brooks was diagnosed with inoperable brain tumors when he was 5 years old. In May 2016, he passed away at home, surrounded by his family. “He did not like me to be sad,” said his mom, Tracey. “He had a caring and loving heart. He wanted everyone to be happy.”
After Ambassador Brooks got sick, he started painting – a hobby the 5-year-old had never considered before. His art was abstract and vibrant, bursting with life and joy. When he painted, it was as if he dipped his brush into his soul. A little bit of Brooks and his love was in every painting.
It was this art that St. Baldrick’s donor Mary Clency glimpsed when she was getting out of her car at the local craft store – a woman was carrying two bags emblazoned with these colorful paintings. Immediately, Mary knew exactly who it was. The woman was Brooks’ mom, Tracey Blackmore, someone Mary had held in her heart for years, but had never met.
Brooks had brought them together.
Honored Kid Amanda was just a year old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and only a toddler when she died. This is why her dad, Ron Rozman, advocates for kids’ cancer research — so other parents and kids don’t ever have to endure the cruelties of childhood cancer. Read on for more about his exuberant girl, her tough fight and his advice on how you can become an advocate, no matter where you live.
Ron and Michelle Rozman cuddle and laugh with their daughter Amanda during a day at the park.
She loved to dance. Three-year-old Amanda twirling around and exclaiming, “Whee! Whee!” in sheer delight is a precious memory for Ron and Michelle Rozman.
It’s one of many favorite remembrances of their then-only child who was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma when she was 16 months old.
It is these memories that now fuel Ron’s dedicated efforts as an advocate for pediatric cancer research funding.
Honored Kid David was bright, charming and totally dedicated to embracing life. He also had childhood cancer. David asked his family to fight for a cure — a cure that didn’t come soon enough for him. Read on to learn more about this spectacular 10-year-old, his childhood cancer journey and why his mom, Susan, is passionate about research.
David hugs his mom, Susan, at a fundraising event.
Who would David be if he had grown up?
His mom can’t help but wonder. If he’d lived, he’d be a teenager now.
Would he still have that obsession with colorful skinny jeans? Would that cello he insisted upon getting still be gathering dust? Would he still be that bubbly, charismatic kid she remembers?
What if childhood cancer research hadn’t failed him?
That’s what Susan Heard wonders.
Ever since Joe and Erin Martorano’s daughter Sara was diagnosed with childhood cancer, St. Baldrick’s has been part of the family. From shaving to organizing events and starting a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund, they’ve done it all. Read on to find out why.
The Martorano family smiles together during Sara’s treatment for cancer. From left to right: Anna, Erin, Mary, Joe and Sara.
Joe Martorano first shaved his head with St. Baldrick’s in 2008, alongside his colleagues at the Chicago Police Department. He didn’t have a direct connection to childhood cancer at the time. Fundraising for kids’ cancer research just seemed like the right thing to do.
Later that year, that would all change.
Diagnosed with a rare sarcoma when he was a toddler, Honored Kid Alan passed away five years ago. With his chubby-cheeked grin and bright personality, the 2014 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador has inspired all of us — and as his mom writes in this blog, Alan’s impact continues to be felt in a big, brilliant way. Read on to learn how…
Dr. Nino Rainusso meets with Alan’s family, plus Hilly the bear, a stuffed panda purchased in Washington D.C. to represent Alan’s lost opportunities.
Four years ago, we established a Hero Fund with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money for sarcoma research in Alan’s memory. Last July we were thrilled to share that the fundraising we had done through Alan’s Sarcoma Research Fund had given us the opportunity to name a grant.
Dr. Nino Rainusso of Baylor College of Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital would be named the Alan’s Sarcoma Research Fund St. Baldrick’s Scholar for his work in identifying and examining the most difficult-to-treat cancer cells from patients at Texas Children’s.
Miriam’s son Holden was diagnosed with Stage IV Wilms tumor in 2010. Now, three years after his death, Miriam thinks of her son whenever she hops into her car. Why? Read on to find out how Miriam has turned something we see every day into a memorial for her son and a unique fundraiser for childhood cancer research.
In October 2010, St. Baldrick’s 2016 Ambassador Holden was diagnosed with Wilms tumor. He lost his left kidney and endured intense chemo and radiation treatment. Holden showed no evidence of disease for about a year, but then a tumor was found on his other kidney. Before he could receive a kidney transplant, cancer was found in his lung.
In 2012, we celebrated a year of remission for our son Holden with our first head-shaving fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Several months after that event, Holden was back in treatment for the same cancer on his other kidney. When cancer stole him from us in May 2014, we decided that a Hero Fund with St. Baldrick’s was the best way to honor Holden’s memory and work to fund research. We have organized head-shaving events and Do What You Want fundraisers since then, and we are always looking to do more.
It seems like only a short time ago that we were celebrating clear scans. It was January 2016 and our daughter Daisy had been given the gift of life. We now find ourselves in the midst of a nightmare.
2015 Ambassador Daisy was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer, when she was just 6 years old.
Tracey Blackmore lost her son Brooks to brain cancer last year. In this guest blog, she describes how she both grieves for her little boy and gives back in his honor.
Tracey and Brooks laugh together.
There are so many different ways to deal with the grief of losing a child. There is no “right” way, but I knew what MY way had to be. I knew I had to wake up everyday and choose happiness in my son’s honor.
Brooks Blackmore was only 5 years old when he was diagnosed with two stage 4 brain tumors on June 13, 2015. We were told that they were inoperable, there was no cure and radiation was the only hope to prolong his life.
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