TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation Announces Grant Recipients in Pediatric Cancer Research for 2023

2023 Awardees Committed to Continuing to Find Cures for Childhood Cancers

DALLAS, Feb. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is proud to continue its work towards eradicating pediatric cancer by awarding $500,000 to multiple research grantees at five national institutions to fund their childhood cancer research work in 2023. As non-profit fundraising opportunities continue to be a challenge, the organization is thankful for the loyal donors, generous foundation grants, and community partners who share in the fight to cure pediatric cancers.

The TeamConnor grant cycle is open for formal applications annually from late spring to late summer. Every December pediatric cancer research grants are funded directly to institutions within the United States after they are reviewed and scored by the Medical Advisory Board and voted on by the Board of Directors.


Dr. Alan Cantor at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Ma., and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute will be conducting research in 2023 for the development of novel treatments for Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia.

Dr. Vinodoh Pillai of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pa., will be overseeing the research of single-cell multi-omics of pediatric lymphoma to identify novel targets.

Dr. Richard Lu of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, will be researching the targeting of diffuse midline gliomas with GD2-STAR-T cell immunotherapy.

Dr. Meaghan Granger of Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas will be researching precision medicine for relapsed neuroblastoma.

Additionally, TeamConnor was honored to join with St. Baldrick’s Foundation to co-fund a grant within the DREAM team.  The DREAM team was established as the pediatric cancer research group for Stand Up To Cancer.  Dr. Crystal L. Mackall and Dr. John M. Maris, co-leaders of the STAND UP TO CANCERCancer Dream Team, continue to work with world-renowned pediatric cancer researchers and clinicians from two disciplines: genomics, which is the study of genes and their functions; and immunotherapeutics, which are treatments that use the body’s own immune system to fight disease.  The research grant mission is to bring together these 2 separate scientific fields to find cures for many of the most hard-to-treat childhood cancers. The DREAM team was established by STAND UP TO CANCER as the pediatric cancer research arm for the organization. 

The TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation was created by Joy and Tait Cruse to honor their late son, Connor Cruse. In 2005 Connor was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and was given only three months to live. Thankfully, he beat cancer for more than four years before a secondary cancer, a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, was found. Connor died in 2009 at just eight years old.

In addition to several extensive private donor fundraising, several grants including the Hillcrest Foundation, The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, the Dallas Mavericks Foundation, Texas Healthcare Advisory Council, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas in partnership with Texas Motor Speedway, and Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation have partnered with the organization to continue the goal to finding cures for children’s cancer.  

Since its inception, TeamConnor has funded almost $6 million for childhood cancer research. “Connor’s wish was that no other child would go through this,” said Tait Cruse, father of Connor. “And he always said if we could put a person on the moon, we can cure children with cancer.” 

For more information on how to join the fight against childhood cancer, please visit or follow TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook.

The TeamConnor Story

TeamConnor was founded in 2008 by Connor’s parents, Joy and Tait Cruse. Connor was a rambunctious four-year-old boy when he was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma on May 15, 2005. Connor fought a fierce, four-year battle that included more than 200 nights in the hospital, 14 surgeries, 40 blood transfusions, 25 rounds of chemo, 2 bone marrow transplants, and countless painful procedures. He was a fighter to the very end. His motto was, “Be brave and believe in Jesus.” Since 2008, TeamConnor has donated almost $5 million to numerous hospitals across the country in its mission to fund improved treatment options and ultimately cures for childhood cancers. For more information on how to join the fight against childhood cancer, please visit or follow TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.  

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SOURCE TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation