Cure Childhood Cancer

CURE Blog


February 25th, 2015

Student Hosts Dress Down for CURE Day to Honor CURE’s Kid

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Declan Boustead, a 2014 CURE’s Kid and third-grader at Big Shanty Intermediate School describes having cancer as “being on a weird roller coaster ride.” Throughout his battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia one thing is for sure- he’s had a great family and friends like Izzy to help along the way.

Izzy is friends with Declan’s sister, Kennedy, from figure skating. Izzy is nine years old and goes to Marietta Center for Advanced Academics.

She decided to host a school fundraiser to help raise money for research because she knew it was International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day on February 15th. Izzy’s mom, Sinead, called the school principal and pitched the idea of raising money for CURE Childhood Cancer. Principal Jennifer Hernandez said she would love to but she wanted it to come from Izzy directly. A child helping other children to overcome such a huge challenge as cancer always means something extra special.

Izzy arranged time to speak with Dr. Hernandez, made the posters to advertise and collected the money- what a true leader!  Izzy asked for $2 to dress down on a Friday. The students wore CURE tattoos on their cheeks and arms. With only 300 kids in the school, Izzy collected $410!  Izzy’s story is a great example how one idea can lead to something so much greater.


February 24th, 2015

2015 Sam Robb Memorial 5K Reaches $10,000 Goal

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Here at CURE Childhood Cancer, we are so thankful for the fundraising efforts of those in our community, especially those benefitting our Named Funds. The Sam Robb Memorial 5K & Fun Run just wrapped up it’s seventh year, and it was a great time indeed!

When Sam Robb relapsed to cancer in 2007, his peer and Centennial HS Cross Country Team member, Andy, wanted to do something in Sam’s memory to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer. Since its incredible inception, this run has raised more than $60,000 for CURE.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.15.36 AMNow, Andy’s younger brother is the race organizer and has helped the Sam Robb Fund gain more and more supporters each year. Despite the 28-degree weather, there was a great turnout for this year’s race on Valentine’s Day. And even better, The Sam Robb Fund achieved their goal of $10,000! Thanks to all Sam Robb Memorial 5K sponsors, volunteers and runners for participating.

For pictures, click here and for more upcoming Sam Robb events, visit www.samrobb.com.

Don’t forget to save the date for The Sam Robb Brewfest! This fun event is less than a month away- last year this was a sold out event! We hope to see you there, and thank you for your support of The Sam Robb Fund.

 


February 23rd, 2015

A Fighting Spirit: Melissa Strong Believe Fund Launches

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Every child should be able to live life happily and free of sickness, but the hospital has become Melissa Strong’s playground. Melissa was diagnosed with AML when she was only two years old and began five rounds of intense chemotherapy.

As doctors began to treat the relapsed leukemia, they found out that Melissa’s leukemia is unfortunately unresponsive to chemotherapy. Melissa is now waiting on an experimental bone marrow transplant at St. Jude to cure her leukemia.

While her heart suffered damage from the intense chemotherapy, Melissa hasn’t missed a beat. She loves painting, playing with dolls, puzzles and anything active. Melissa’s parents have taken on the role of raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Her fighting spirit has inspired the launch of our newest Believe Fund, the Melissa Strong Fund.

To donate to the Melissa Strong Fund click here to donate online and choose “Melissa Strong Fund” in the Designation section. Your gift will be directed accordingly.

Checks can be made out to CURE Childhood Cancer with “Melissa Strong Fund” written on the notes line. Mail checks to:

CURE Childhood Cancer
1117 Perimeter Center West, Suite N-402
Atlanta, GA 30338

 

If you’re interested in starting a Believe Fund or CURE Named Fund or for more information, contact Kristin Connor, Executive Director at 770-986-0035 or kristin@curechildhoodcancer.org.

 


February 18th, 2015

How to Register for Lauren’s Run

It’s time to register for the 21st Annual Lauren’s Run and CURE Childhood Cancer Picnic on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at Concourse Office Park in Atlanta, GA. For those who may need a little help registering to race, starting a race team, or joining a race team, please use this step-by-step guide to help guide you along. If you have any additional questions, please contact Kate Myers at kate@curechildhoodcancer.org.

Step 1: Get Started
CLICK HERE to visit the Lauren’s Run online registration website.
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Step 2: Register Now
On the left-hand side of the screen, click “Register Now.” When the Waiver/Agreement opens up, click “I agree.”

Step 3: Select Registration Type
On-screen you will see four options for registration:
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.35.55 PMStart a Team: Select this option if you would like to start your own race team, which others will be able to join. Members of your team will be able to fundraise independently, and all of your fundraising efforts will show up listed under your team name! You’ll be able to customize your individual registration/fundraising page as well as customize your team race page.
Join a Team: Select this option if you know of an existing race team that you would like to join. You may register as an individual runner and will have the option to raise money as well.
Join as an Individual: Select this option if you simply want to register as a single runner/walker for Lauren’s Run. You will have the option to raise money for Lauren’s Run, but it is not mandatory.
Register Multiple People: Select this option if you want to register multiple people at the same time. If you select this option, you will still be given the choice to register multiple people as individual runners, start a team, or join a team!


Step 4: Join as an Individual (Skip ahead to Step 5 or Step 6 if you are not registering as an individual)

If you’ve already registered for ANY event using the website Friends Asking Friends or Sphere, you may log in to your account on this page. More than likely this will be your first time, so proceed with filling out the information on-screen to set up a login. You may also simply click one of the social media icons listed on-screen to use one of your existing social media account to create your login. This is a nice option if you don’t want to keep-up with another login! When you’re finished, click “continue.”
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.43.20 PMYou will continue to the next screen, where you will fill out your personal information (such as name, age, etc.) as well as select the specific race you would like to register for.
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.47.35 PMYou will also be given the option to make an additional donation and/or create a fundraising goal. Both of these steps are completely optional. When you’re finished, click “continue.”

Fill out your billing information and click “Continue.” Note: once you click “continue” your card will be charged.
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The next page will show your registration/payment confirmation. When you click “continue” at the bottom of the page, you will be brought to your “My HQ” page where you will be able to customize your (optional) fundraising page. Please see Step #7 for information about how to edit your HQ.


Step #5: Join a Team (Skip ahead to Step 6 or Step 7 if this does not apply to you)

Click “Join a Team.” On the next screen, a drop-down menu will appear, allowing you to select which existing team you would like to join. Click “continue.”
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 3.04.03 PMIf you’ve already registered for ANY event using the website Friends Asking Friends or Sphere, you may log in to your account on this page. More than likely this will be your first time, so proceed with filling out the information on-screen to set up a login. You may also simply click one of the social media icons listed on-screen to use one of your existing social media account to create your login. This is a nice option if you don’t want to keep-up with another login! When you’re finished, click “continue.”
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You will also be given the option to make an additional donation and/or create a fundraising goal. Both of these steps are completely optional. When you’re finished, click “continue.”

Fill out your billing information and click “Continue.” Note: once you click “continue” your card will be charged.
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The next page will show your registration/payment confirmation. When you click “continue” at the bottom of the page, you will be brought to your “My HQ” page where you will be able to customize your (optional) fundraising page. Please see Step #7 for information about how to edit your HQ.

 

Step #6: Start a Team (Skip ahead to Step 7 if this does not apply to you)
If you would like to be a Lauren’s Run team captain, select this option. When you start a team, your friends and family will be able to register as a runner and join your team. All of your (optional) fundraising efforts will still show up on your individual fundraising pages, but will pool together on your team page to show how your join efforts add up!

Click “Start a Team”  and new screen will open where you may enter your Team Name and some optional fundraising/registration goals.
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If you’ve already registered for ANY event using the website Friends Asking Friends or Sphere, you may log in to your account on this page. More than likely this will be your first time, so proceed with filling out the information on-screen to set up a login. You may also simply click one of the social media icons listed on-screen to use one of your existing social media account to create your login. This is a nice option if you don’t want to keep-up with another login! When you’re finished, click “continue.”
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.43.20 PM

You will also be given the option to make an additional donation and/or create a fundraising goal. Both of these steps are completely optional. When you’re finished, click “continue.”

Fill out your billing information and click “Continue.” Note: once you click “continue” your card will be charged.
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 3.06.30 PM

The next page will show your registration/payment confirmation. When you click “continue” at the bottom of the page, you will be brought to your “My HQ” page where you will be able to customize your (optional) fundraising page. Please see Step #7 for information about how to edit your HQ.

 

Step #7: Edit Your Page in My HQ
Once you’ve registered for the race, you may customize it under “My HQ.” Once you’re logged in, click “Build/Edit My Webpage” on the right-hand side of the screen.

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On the following page, you may edit your headline, upload a custom picture, and customize your story. We recommend you add a personal note as to why you are racing and/or fundraising for Lauren’s Run. This will help your friends and family understand why CURE is so important to you, and could help inspire them to donate to your fundraising efforts! Just find the “Edit the text” field underneath the photo, and fill in your story here.

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Your HQ also allows you to edit your profile information, send emails to your friends and family (asking them to help support your fundraising efforts), enter offline donations, etc.


Step #8: Fundraise for CURE

While fundraising is optional, we encourage you to ask your friends, family, and coworkers to support your participation in Lauren’s Run! Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, 100% of funds raised at Lauren’s Run support CURE Childhood Cancer’s mission to find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime. Simply log in to My HQ, click “My Webpage,” click “View Personal Page” and copy your URL. Share this with your friends and family!

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, March 26th at Lauren’s Run and the CURE Annual Picnic!

 

FAQ
1. I accidentally joined the wrong team, or joined as an individual but would like to join an existing team.
Log in to your account. When you’re in “My HQ” click the “Tools” tab at the top of the screen. Then click “Edit Profile.” Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and edit your team status.

2. I want to change my fundraising goal.
Log in to your account. When you’re in “My HQ” click the “Tools” tab at the top of the screen. Then click “Edit Profile.” Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and edit your “event information” fundraising goal.


February 17th, 2015

Take a Friend to A CURE Event: A Letter from A CURE Supporter

The following letter was written by CURE supporter Pete Delin:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 6.13.11 PMEvery time you make a donation to CURE Childhood Cancer, 87% will go to research or to support programs servicing children or families of children fighting this brutal beast called childhood cancer. Therefore, only 13% goes to fundraising and administrative expenses—very rare among charities, including the very finest, best-known and best managed charities in America. This is clearly a tribute to our extraordinary Office Staff, Board Members, Volunteers and wonderful Donors!!!

“Although CURE is doing an exemplary job of maximizing the benefits from your donation, is there anything you can do to further enhance your gift to an even higher level?” The answer to that question can often times be YES!

HERE’S HOW: My wife Melanie and I have discovered that taking a friend or family member to a CURE event is one of the very best ways to maximize the benefit of our donation. Some of your guests may insist on paying for their own ticket. Some will accept your kind invitation and give a separate donation and some will spend money on an auction item. But many… maybe even most will become committed long-term supporters of CURE and continue to attend events, become volunteers or contribute on an ongoing basis. Very often that small act of kindness, that single invitation, will be the “gift that keeps on giving” with ongoing benefits year after year after year. And typically those new CURE supporters will bring other supporters/donors and that is the essence of how we grow!

Melanie and I have been blessed with multiple examples just in 2013. But, let’s just talk about one in which sponsoring a table at the Quiet Heroes luncheon turned into contributions of well over $7,000!!!

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 6.17.13 PMMelanie and I have a budget just for CURE. No matter what, we will be writing our checks. But, we always try to optimize the benefit of each gift. For example, in 2013 we decided to spend some of our budget to sponsor a table at the Quiet Heroes luncheon. Most of our invitees insisted on paying their own way. So, we ended up with a table for 10 and only three guests. Our guests included Melanie’s mom, a dear friend of her mom’s and our daughter, Ashley. Our table also included a mother of a survivor, some committed CURE volunteers and a few other friends who were totally new to CURE.

Quiet Heroes was a truly extraordinary and totally inspiring event in every respect. We do not know what was given from our table… much of that is kept confidential. But, we do know that well over $7,000 was raised from tickets, silent auction items and follow up donations… just from our table alone! There were also ongoing residual benefits from those new CURE supporters who will continue to give and to volunteer year after year after year! That one little act of kindness, that one invitation to join us at the Quiet Heroes luncheon resulted in gifts of over $7,000 and will deliver ongoing benefits year after year.

So, if you would like to make a gift to CURE Childhood Cancer, by all means do it! You can feel confident that your contribution will be put to optimal benefit for CURE and the kids and families we serve. But, if you want your contribution to go even further, consider taking friends to one of the many CURE events. Click here to check out the list of upcoming events.

For Mel and me, our goal is to reach out and help kids and families fighting the excruciating battle with childhood cancer. But, the truth is, CURE Childhood Cancer has given us far more than we could ever give back. It has put life in a new perspective and has helped us to see how trivial our daily disappointments really are. Thank you CURE for the lessons we have learned. To the brave families and kids, the doctors, the nurses and fellow volunteers…you have inspired us in extraordinary ways.

So, take a friend to a CURE event!!! You too will be inspired in extraordinary ways!!!


February 17th, 2015

CURE’s Weekend of Hope and Healing

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 5.23.58 PMHow can one begin to describe a weekend spent with people from different areas of Georgia and beyond, many of whom had never met before, and some were seeing each other for the first time in a year, but each sharing one heartbreaking bond? Each parent understood the reality of losing a piece of him or herself – a child.

On January 17th and 18th CURE hosted our Annual Weekend of Hope and Healing. Forty-seven families gathered to find comfort and hope from speakers and counselors – and each other. Throughout the weekend, parents were guided with tools to move forward in the grief process.

Parents remembered their children during a beautiful candle lighting ceremony and laughed and cried with other each other during the “Memories” session. One young couple discovered they each had some different memories of their child, and they expressed, “It brought joy in hearing something new about our sweet child.” A memory jar was created for each family to retain those special thoughts/words, and they were encouraged to ask family members and friends to record their precious memories to include in the memory jar.

On Saturday morning, Janet Street who lost her son, Cam, to cancer in 2009 concluded her presentation, “Thoughts on Grieving, Striving for a Healthy and Positive Perspective” with this thought, “Your joy will return – joy and pain can coexist.” A mom thanked Janet by saying, “Thank you for coming to share your story and let us know that we are not alone in this journey. Thank you for helping us with our pain.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 5.25.54 PMDr. Rona Roberts’s, whose precious daughter passed away in 2013, spoke to the group on Sunday and eloquently shared her journey into the world of childhood cancer. Tears freely flowed as other parents, who did not know her daughter, totally “got” her story. Her message inspired, comforted, and left all full of hope. One parent shared, “The loss of a child can be paralyzing to the mind and life of the parent – and to witness [Dr. Roberts] stand and speak so strongly today was a true testament. I will never forget [her] words and message!”

A parent in attendance expressed, “I saw many couples lovingly supporting and protecting each other. It’s so encouraging to see couples and families loving each other through loss.” The weekend was very much a time of shared pain and loss, but more importantly a weekend of hope and healing.


February 17th, 2015

How To Be A Shelter For Friends and Family Caught in Life’s Storms

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By: Shawn Murphy

Whether a friend or family member has recently received a difficult diagnosis or is reeling from a personal loss, each of us can provide shelter and comfort to those caught in life’s storms. We all have the ingredients necessary to do so. We need only a compassionate heart, empathetic ears, helping hands and watchful eyes.

1). Compassionate Heart

Giving shelter starts with a compassionate heart. Compassion is the natural emotion that one feels in the response to the suffering of others. It is unnatural to ignore pain and suffering in ourselves or others. In its purest essence, it simply comes back to the golden rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Without this essential first step of feeling love and caring, the act of mercy – reaching out to help others in their time of need – would never happen.

2). Empathetic Ears

Being a shelter to others involves empathetic ears and good listening skills. It is important to let the hurting or grieving person know that it is okay to share what they are feeling and to allow them to determine the timing of when or if they decide to share.

Equally important is how we listen. Our role is to be empathetic listeners who seek to understand, accept, and acknowledge feelings in a safe environment and validate the emotions while withholding judgment.

3). Helping Hands

Providing shelter to others involves acts of mercy; showing kindness and lending helping hands to those who are in a difficult or even desperate situation. For a person or family who is in the midst of illness or loss, helping in practical ways is greatly appreciated, with continued support over the long haul and providing extra help on special days.

There are many practical ways to help a grieving person. You can offer to pick up groceries, run errands, provide meals, receive phone calls, help with paperwork, do housework, watch children, look after pets, take them to lunch, or share an enjoyable activity with them.

The goal is to let them know they are loved and to demonstrate your care by personally helping and providing ongoing support.

4). Watchful Eyes

Finally, offering shelter also involves offering watchful eyes. It is normal for anyone who has just learned of a cancer diagnosis or is caregiving for someone through a protracted illness or who may have experienced the loss of a loved one to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression or similar types of issues.

However, professional help may be in order if over time the symptoms do not fade. Watchful eyes should look for signs such as inability to function in daily life, extreme focus on death, excessive bitterness, anger, or guilt, neglecting personal hygiene, alcohol or drug abuse, inability to enjoy life, hallucinations, withdrawal from others, constant feelings of hopelessness, talking about dying or suicide. If these signs are present, please encourage your friend or family member to seek professional help.

 

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Shawn Murphy serves as Director of Community Relations and liaison to CURE Childhood Cancer on behalf of Summit Counseling Center in Johns Creek, GA. For information about CURE’s Partners in Caring Counseling Program, please contact Karen McCarthy at karen@curechildhoodcancer.org or (770)986-0035 ext. 26.

 


February 17th, 2015

CURE Funds Clinical Trial to Improve Survival Rate for AML Subtype

Pauly-MelindaCURE-sponsored researcher, Dr. Melinda Pauly, a member of the pediatric oncology team at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University, is focused on better treatments for patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Approximately one in five leukemia cases are classified as AML. Survival rates for this type of leukemia are significantly lower than other types of leukemia at only 60 to 70 percent.

“Sixty to 70 percent survival rates are unacceptable,” said Dr. Pauly.

“We need to do better,” she continued, which is why she is using CURE funds to research a novel drug, dasatinib, which has proven successful in fighting other types of cancer and has shown promise fighting AML.

Dr. Pauly and the Aflac Cancer Center will be partnering with nearly ten top-tier cancer research institutions across the United States, including Seattle’s Children’s, for a Phase I clinical trial using dasatinib and chemotherapy to treat children with a particular subset of AML called core binding factor (CBF). CBF accounts for nearly 20% of all AML cases and is frequently resistant to chemotherapy.

“Twenty to 25 percent of patients with core binding factor AML will experience relapse,” said Dr. Pauly.

“Dasatinib specifically targets the gene mutation found in those core binding AML patients who relapse. If this trial proves successful, we can move to large-scale use of dasatinib in patients during the initial round of chemotherapy–preventing relapse before it occurs, which will save countless lives,” said Dr. Pauly.

While Pauly and her team are testing dasatinib in patients in the United States, she will also be communicating and sharing data with a team of European researchers who will be conducting a similar study abroad.

“This parallel study will make for the best possible testing ground to prove dasatinib’s effectiveness in treating CBF AML patients” said Dr. Pauly.

Both trials are set to take place over the next two to three years, testing the drug in small sample populations, and then moving to larger Phase II trials and treatment of even more children.

Dr. Pauly, who wanted to be a doctor “as long as she could remember,” received her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, followed by a residency at Children’s Health System in Birmingham and a fellowship at Emory.

“I like the unique relationships you form with patients and families in pediatrics, as well as the complex biology of leukemia and lymphoma patients,” said Dr. Pauly.

“We have very high cure rates for leukemia,” she said. “But we’re not at 100 percent. And for every individual child, it HAS to be 100 percent.”


February 16th, 2015

Atlanta Charity Clays Announces CURE as a 25th Annual Clays Shooting Tournament Benefactor

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On Saturday, March 21, 2015 Atlanta Charity Clays will hold its 25th annual clay shooting tournament at Burge Plantation, a historic private club, farm and shooting preserve. With safety in mind first, the ACC Tournament is great for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, and provides a fun environment for socializing and networking.

Established in 1991, the Atlanta Charity Clays has become one of the premier events on the American shooting calendar. This fundraiser is not your typical black-tie affair. The ACC Tournament was created to put a different type of social event on the map- one that would allow guests to spend a day in the country, meet new friends who also enjoy the outdoors and raise money for a great cause.

For this year’s tournament, Atlanta Charity Clays has announced CURE Childhood Cancer as a benefactor, and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this long-standing tradition.

Along with sporting clays, the day-long event includes a full barbecue lunch, silent auction and games such as the Flush, the Five Stand and the Make-a-Break. A Kick-off Party on Thursday and Gold Sponsors’ Day on Friday will also precede Saturday’s tournament.

Whether you’re ready to show off your shooting skills or would like to join as a spectator, we’d love for you to come out to celebrate the tournament’s 25th year and also support Atlanta children’s charities.

For more event information, visit www.atlantacharityclays.org.


February 16th, 2015

CURE Executive Director Kristin Connor is Awarded the 2015 Summit Spirit Award

IMG_3206.JPGOn Saturday, January 24, 2015, The Summit Counseling Center held its inaugural fundraising gala and celebration to recognize the work being done to help families and individuals find hope and healing in times of crisis. The event also helped raised much-needed awareness of mental health issues in the community.

Three wonderful organizations and their leaders were acknowledged for their life-transforming support of families throughout the North Fulton, Georgia area. The 2015 Summit Spirit Award recipients include: Kristin Connor, executive director of CURE Childhood Cancer; John and Susie Trautwein, founders and executive directors of the Will to Live Foundation; and Dr. Christopher Matthews, assistant superintendent of Fulton County Schools.

summitThe gala’s presenting sponsor, the Chick-Fil-A Foundation, and a remarkable guest speaker, Herschel Walker, made the festivities of the evening all the more meaningful. NFL All-star, CURE supporter and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker shared his inspirational story of the ups and down of living with dissociative identity disorder. His testimony helped give a voice and hope to those suffering from DID and is proof that together, we are capable of overcoming any challenge that life throws at us.

Through the generosity of event sponsors and guests, the Summit raised over $100,000 at its very first gala! The funds will be used to support the Summit’s mission of providing professional counseling, consultation and education services, with an integrated approach to care for the whole person- body, mind, spirit and community.

The wonderful work of the Summit Counseling Center has allowed CURE to provide parents with the necessary skills to cope with the challenges that come with caring for a child with cancer. It is such an honor to be recognized, but more importantly, CURE is glad to have the Summit as part of our family support team. When joined together, the many families battling childhood cancer will never have to fight alone.


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    LAUREN’S RUN AND CURE ANNUAL PICNIC

    Register now for the 21st Annual Lauren’s Run on Sunday, April 26th at 8:00 am at Concourse Office Park in Atlanta, GA. All Lauren’s Run registrants are invited to attend the CURE Annual Picnic immediately following the race. This is the perfect family day, filled with fun, games, prizes and a delicious lunch. Register now.

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    SHOP AMAZON SMILE

    Instead of shopping on Amazon, shop on Amazon Smile instead, and a percentage of any purchase will benefit CURE. Amazon Smile is identical to Amazon.com; you can even use your Prime account. Simply click here, set CURE Childhood Cancer as your charity of choice, and shop away.