When Ryan and Brandon started the Purple Monkeys as part of Lauren's Run, they were only 7 and 4 years old. Their efforts were first inspired by Brandon’s diagnosis at one month old with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer. But pretty quickly their inspiration changed. While we will always be extremely grateful for Brandon’s survival, and we will never stop “paying it forward,” our inspiration now is grounded in the struggles, devastation, courage, losses and triumphs of many other children.
As I write this, there are many children on my heart. There’s Jack, recently declared cancer free! Chip, who continues to amaze and inspire so many people every day with his sheer determination. There’s Trenton, a miracle who continues to boldly live the cure.
But, you know…the heart is raw with the struggles of those who are weary in the fight – and those who have left us for heaven. There’s Anna Charles…the beautiful little girl who exuded joy despite cancer invading her little body, ultimately taking her life last September. Only 6…gone too soon, leaving a crater in the hearts of all who love her.
There’s Robert…my buddy, who’s been fighting cancer for 8 years. 8 years! 800 rounds of chemo which have left his liver too damaged for anything more. Yet the leukemia has returned.
As we grieve for Anna Charles and hurt for Robert, we know we have to keep going. And so this year, we do it for them in particular. Because every year, with every dollar we raise, progress is being made…and we believe, honestly and earnestly, that one day this will stop. Cancer may not be eliminated. But it won’t kill.
And so the Purple Monkeys press on. We will continue to do our part. We know there are many important causes and many requests for support made, so we sincerely appreciate support!
Ryan, Brandon and Kristin Connor