When Annie Gould completed her first CureSearch Walk in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2011, it had 400 attendees and raised more than $70,000. That was a pretty big success considering that three years earlier in 2008, when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer, there were no walks at all dedicated to finding a cure for children’s cancer.
Fast forward to 2016 and her most recent Charlottesville Walk, which had 465 attendees and raised, once again, over $70,000. Despite the rain, dozens of families, individuals and teams came out, including a nursing team that held spirit night at a local Chick fil-A and one family that made cookies for a church bake sale fundraiser. There was even a doctor, the head of hematology-oncology, who spoke about healing through the pain and finding comfort from what was once a scary place.
With that Walk, as well as a recent 21-mile Ultimate Hike in West Virginia under her belt, Annie has raised over $250,000 toward CureSearch’s mission to find a cure for all children diagnosed with cancer.
This is validation to Annie that her efforts as a CureSearch Board member for the last two and a half years mean something. It has meant the world to honor the memory of her daughter, Eloise, who passed away from rhabdomyosarcoma in 2010. It means just as much to connect with other mothers and families of children who didn’t make it, as well as those that did, but who are still dealing with the late effects of treatment.
“There is an awareness today that didn’t exist prior to my daughter’s diagnosis. People realize that these children are more than just a number, and that they are not alone. More participating cities are meeting or exceeding their fundraising goals. And it’s all for our children.”
Annie remains “modestly proud” about the progress she’s helped CureSearch make since becoming a Board member in 2014. Instead of a committee comprised of personal friends, now the committee includes a diverse array of business leaders, medical professionals, parents of children with cancer, and more. Instead of a few children with cancer being represented in the Charlottesville area, dozens are. There are now up to 27 Walks and Hikes a year that help raise funds for children’s cancer research. It’s this increase in awareness, coupled with the help of a dedicated community, that makes her want to do even more.
It wasn’t in Annie’s master plan to be such an active member of the Board, or to become so involved in the fight to end children’s cancer, but she is, and she harnesses that energy to give back to the cancer community. Whether she’s attending a Walk or a fundraiser at a winery, or spreading awareness on NPR, she continues to remain hopeful that one day, there will be a cure for all childhood cancers.
In her own words, Annie says, “You just want to show up and do something. This is something I can do.”
We thank Annie, from the bottom of our hearts, for all that she continues to do for CureSearch.
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