Each year, CCRF presents Butterfly Awards to individuals, organizations and teams that have contributed significant time and resources to ending childhood cancer. We are grateful for the passion and commitment shared by this year’s award recipients.
The Ojeda Family – Ambassador
We first met Dexter Ojeda in the fall of 2015 and were immediately struck by his kind spirit, sense of humor and contagious smile. A self-proclaimed “Star Wars nerd” and cat-lover, Dexter exuded warmth and positivity. In the winter of 2017, Dexter and his family learned that his cancer had returned and there were no treatment options left. In Dexter’s final months, he and his family resolved to complete as many items from Dexter’s bucket list as possible. Through social media, news stories and the caring of so many, Dexter was able to cross many things off his list. Just to name a few; he got to travel to California, take a cruise, experience a free-fall simulation and run a restaurant for a day. Dexter passed away on May 30. All of us at CCRF have been touched by Dexter and his family. The courage they showed to share their story every step of the way is a testament to their commitment to make a change in the world of childhood cancer.
The Cavanaugh Family – Ambassador
The Cavanaugh family first shared the story of their daughter, Callie, and her struggle with rhabdomyosarcoma in 2016 when Callie’s mom, Michelle, wrote a blog about being a doctor and discovering her daughter’s cancer. We asked Callie to be an ambassador for the 2017 Great Cycle Challenge, and her family continued their involvement in the event in 2018. Diagnosed just days after her seventh birthday, Callie went through months of chemotherapy, surgery to remove tumors and weeks of radiation. After many exhausting ups and downs, it became clear to Callie and her family that treatment wasn’t working anymore – they were out of options. Callie passed away on April 7 surrounded by her parents and three older brothers. She was 9 years old. Callie and her family decided not only to fight her cancer, but to be advocates for childhood cancer research. She motivated hundreds of GCC riders to raise millions of dollars for research that will someday lead to a future where kids like Callie will no longer lose their childhood to cancer. Callie’s family generously shared their story, even during the most difficult days of their lives. We are forever grateful to Callie and her family for inspiring us, advocating for childhood cancer research and allowing us to witness Callie’s strength.
Joel Falter – Community Partner
Joel is a Great Cycle Challenge rider and the all-time top GCC fundraiser. In three years, he has raised $52,267 and ridden 2,180 miles to fight childhood cancer. Joel’s dedication is exceptional – every morning at 4:30, he wakes up and gets on his bike to ride for a cause he deeply believes in. He is not only an incredibly dedicated fundraiser, but a valuable leader to all riders who are looking to make a bigger contribution to GCC’s mission. Joel is happy to give advice about fundraising to other riders when asked and help rally other riders by sharing his story. His incredible dedication to raising awareness for childhood cancer research has undoubtedly helped make Great Cycle Challenge a success.
The Poferl Family – Community Partner
The Poferl family’s involvement with CCRF began with Katie Jurek, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 16. Throughout the years of chemo, radiation and surgeries, her spirit and smile always shined bright. Katie passed away at the age of 20 in 2007. To honor Katie’s memory, her mother Lynn Poferl helped create Date for Life, a fundraiser for CCRF that brings together the Twin Cities’ most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes at a fun, feel-good event. Katie’s stepbrother, John Poferl, was inspired by Lynn’s work with Date for Life and wanted to create his own fundraising event for Katie. He started Love Beer. Hate Cancer., a full-day kickball and softball tournament culminating in a spirited silent auction and dinner reception. Collectively, the Poferl family has raised over $725,000 for CCRF. Thank you to the Poferl family for their incredible dedication to funding a cure through organizing fantastic events that honor Katie.
EideCom – Corporate Partner
EideCom has proudly worked as the A/V production partner with CCRF for Dawn of a Dream for the past five years. Year after year, they’ve gone above and beyond just providing sound and lighting for this annual gala – they consider exactly what the look and feel of each moment should be throughout the evening and how each element will emotionally impact the guests. Through their attention to detail and understanding of our mission, EideCom has helped make this important gala a fantastic experience for our guests and a fundraising success for CCRF. In addition, they have created other compelling videos for CCRF including our brand video, A World Without Childhood Cancer.
Dustin Hron – Care Partner
Dustin Hron has contributed 670 hours as a Care Partners Unit Volunteer since starting in September of 2014. Dustin is one of the most faithful and consistent volunteers on the bone marrow transplant unit, and he has a way of connecting with patients. Among the patients, he is known as the ‘fun guy’ who knows how to play video games. A neuroblastoma survivor himself, Dustin feels deeply for the patients and families in the hospital as they go through during difficult treatments. He uses his understanding of what parents are experiencing to bring a bright spot into their day.
Margy MacMillan – Medical Researcher
Margy MacMillan, MD, is a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and has led her team’s clinical trials in Fanconi anemia. In the 1990s, survival for this disease after an unrelated donor transplant was less than 20 percent. Thanks in part to MacMillan’s work, today’s survival rates exceed 90 percent for those over 20 years of age. MacMillan has also led numerous trials for preventing and treating the dreaded complication of graft-versus-host disease, a complication when the donor immune cells react against the patient. Her work has led to better grading systems for predicting treatment outcomes, leading to personalized approaches to care. Most importantly, Margy has been a caring doctor, collaborative colleague and engaged teacher, laying the groundwork for better cancer treatments in the years to come.