Each year, Children’s Cancer Research Fund presents Butterfly Awards to individuals, organizations and teams that have contributed significant time and resources to ending childhood cancer. These are the people who make the pursuit of our mission possible.
Jon and Jill Halper – Volunteers
Jon Halper’s sister, Jobi, survived osteosarcoma as a child. Inspired by his sister’s cancer journey, Jon has dedicated himself to CCRF as a member of the Board and Development Committee. He and Jill are founding members of the Monarch Circle, a generous group of supporters with family connections to CCRF across generations. Jon and Jill have also found creative ways to rally support for CCRF through their business, Top Ten Liquors, with in-kind donations, virtual tasting experiences and more.
Patrick Conroy and Rodriguez Embroidery – Corporate Partner
Since 2008, Rodriguez Embroidery has volunteered to store, pack and ship every C.C. Bear, the special donor-supported teddy bear for children fighting cancer and their siblings. They have shipped thousands of bears across the country, connecting kids to not only a new cuddly friend, but also to our organization and our mission. Patrick donates his free time to ensure that a requested C.C. Bear gets shipped the same day it is requested.
Jeff Mulder – Community Partner
Jeff Mulder, Great Cycle Challenge fundraising extraordinaire, decided to do something special when he reached the top of the leaderboard in 2020. He decided to personally donate to other riders to inspire them and keep them motivated. Jeff is the kind of fundraiser Great Cycle Challenge has always hoped to inspire – someone who is selfless, dedicated to building community with his fellow riders, and determined to make his dollar make the greatest difference for kids fighting cancer.
Nate Prigge and Family – Ambassador
Nate was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2019. Since then, Nate has generously shared his story, in the hopes that it would inspire people to fund research that would make treatments easier for kids diagnosed in the future. Nate and his family let us into their lives during some of the darkest moments, and whenever Nate receives good news, they allow us in to share in their celebration. We’re so lucky to have met a family who has been so generous with their time and story.
Meg McElroy – Community Partner
Meg has been a powerhouse fundraiser and advocate for CCRF for 12 years through her annual Christmas Party. Leading up to the party, she creates compelling “why CCRF is important” messages to her friends and family, utilizes fundraising best practices and encourages donors to contribute during Give To the Max Day to rally her supporters. In 2020, Meg was not able to host her party because of the pandemic. However, thanks to her tenacity and her loyal supporters, she had another record-breaking year, raising nearly $25,000, brining her total to $126,523 since 2009.
Linda Cerni – Care Partners
Linda has been a Care Partners Unit Volunteer since 2012, driving over 30 miles for her weekly volunteer shift and completing over 1,300 volunteer hours. During that time, she has provided support for hundreds of patients and their families during their hospital stay for a bone marrow transplant. Volunteering is personal to Linda - she lost her nephew to Ewing sarcoma at 26 years old and volunteers as a way to remember him and honor his legacy. We are so fortunate to have Linda as a thoughtful, dependable, caring and skilled volunteer for Care Partners all these years.
Branden Moriarity, PhD, University of Minnesota – Medical
Branden Moriarity’s research focuses on developing cellular therapeutics for gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy with the goal of translating new therapeutics to the clinic. The first in his family to graduate college, Branden began his research career in 2012 in research and mentor David Largaespada’s lab. Today, Branden runs his own research lab and has brought two potentially groundbreaking new osteosarcoma drugs to clinical trial. He says his dream is that his body of work will one day completely change the way osteosarcoma is treated and drastically improve survival rates for patients.