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Steve Eager, Joy Cruse and Chris Vogeli at the 16th Annual III Forks Golf Classic

This year has been challenging for everyone and non-profits most certainly have had to pivot in their execution of events. For TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation, this meant reducing the number of people participating in outdoor events and getting creative for other events during the 2020 pandemic. As a result of the adjustments, as well as the generous support from donors and sponsors, TeamConnor raised more than $1.5 million this fall for crucial pediatric cancer research.


“No one could have predicted how this pandemic would impact charities when the country was shut down in March,” said Joy Cruse, founder and board chair of TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. “We immediately began to look at how we could reschedule events to host in a safe manner. With the guidance of our incredible staff and committees, we were able to continue to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Unfortunately, children being diagnosed with cancer doesn’t stop because of COVID-19. It’s imperative we continue to fund researchers, so a child’s prognosis is not negatively impacted in the future.”


TeamTait for TeamConnor was created as a result of a shocking cancer diagnosis in July. Tait Cruse, the father of Connor Cruse and inspiration for the organization, was diagnosed with a rare form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Lymphoma, a cancer of the bone marrow. TeamTait for TeamConnor was organized by long-time friend Matt Russo, a managing partner in New York for Northwestern Mutual and supported by Northwestern Mutual offices across the country. More than 1,400 virtual participants united for a one-day fundraiser in September, which is childhood cancer awareness month, to benefit TeamConnor in honor of Tait.


The 16th Annual III Forks Golf Classic was held on October 19 at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano. Local media personality Steve Eager, Fox 4 reporter and evening news anchor, was the celebrity event host for the III Forks Golf Classic tournament. The III Forks Golf Classic sponsors included Title Sponsor, III Forks Steakhouse; Presenting Sponsor, Northwestern Mutual – Dallas; Park Place Lexus Plano; BenefitsTexas; Origin Bank; Town & Country Roofing; The Season Ticket; Rick & Becky Welday; Peter Millar; Corey McQuade; and Charles Armstrong.


The 10th Annual Northwestern Mutual Clay Shoot was held on November 2 at the Dallas Gun Club. Sponsors included Presenting Sponsor, Northwestern Mutual - Dallas, Frost Bank, BenefitsTexas, Sewell, KA Wolfe, Charles Armstrong, Mullis Newby Hurst, Venture X, Dr. Matthew Roberts, Pitts Birdsong Bonds & Insurance, Chuck and Christy Harbison, and Michael Aguilar.


TeamConnor also was honored to have been chosen as the beneficiary of many local events including DFW NACE's Got Talent; Coins for Kids with Cancer Program at Leadership Prep in Frisco; Kendra Scott Gives Back; North Texas Giving Day; Queen’s Quest Stonebriar Golf Tournament; and Xtreme Tennis at Lifetime Fitness in Plano. 


Since 2008, TeamConnor has donated more than $4.5 million to numerous hospitals across the country in its mission to fund research for improved treatment options and ultimately cures for our children. 


TeamConnor hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. For more information on TeamConnor events, contact Sydney Little, special events and outreach coordinator, at or (214) 233-6741.


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

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