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Photo Credit: Shana Anderson

TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation has named Jamie Singer as its Executive Director.  Singer has more than fifteen years experience working with non-profit organizations, event planning and fundraising. As the Executive Director, Singer will be responsible for donor and sponsor development, planning of events, overseeing day-to-day operations, and supporting the Board of Directors with the organization’s long-term mission.

“Children's causes have always been a big part of my life,” said Singer, Executive Director of TeamConnor.  “When I heard the story of Connor and met his family, I knew TeamConnor was where I should be to help children diagnosed with cancer. As executive director, I am following a life passion for helping those that can not help themselves and need a voice in this difficult fight.” 

TeamConnor was founded in 2008 while Connor Cruse was in the midst of his four-year battle with neuroblastoma cancer.  Connor lost his battle on July 10, 2009, but TeamConnor remains committed to fight for all children who are battling cancer.

“Jamie comes to TeamConnor with a strong background in fundraising for non-profit organizations,” said Joy Cruse, founder of Dallas-based TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. “As one of the leading causes of deaths among children, childhood cancer receives very little government funding for research.  Therefore, if better treatment protocols and eventually, cures are to be found, it will take significant private and corporate support to fund the brightest researchers across the country. We are pleased Jaime is on our team to move the needle in this battle.”

In 2014, TeamConnor provided more than $360,000 in grants to five top research hospitals in the United States conducting cutting edge research of childhood cancers. 

Every year, more than 12,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children, yet the budget of the National Cancer Institute allocates less than four percent of its funds to pediatric cancer research. TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and funding research and treatment programs to find a cure for all childhood cancers.  

TeamConnor hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds for childhood cancer research, including the III Forks Golf Classic and Auction Dinner, Splash Out Childhood Cancer, and the Northwestern Mutual Clay Shoot. In addition, TeamConnor’s national program Coins for Kids with Cancer® raises funds in schools, churches, offices and organizations across the country to help fund childhood cancer research. More information on this program can be found at www.coinsforkidswithcancer.org.

For more information on how to impact the lives of those affected by childhood cancer please visit teamconnor.org or find us at Facebook.com/TeamConnor.

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Hawaiian Falls CEO David Busch (L) and White Settlement Mayor Jerry Burns in front of the Hawaiian Falls White Settlement Adventure Park.
Hawaiian Falls recently opened a one-of-a-kind Adventure Park and Event Center off Loop 820 and Clifford Street in White Settlement.

“Our year-round Adventure Park is a natural extension of our mission to bring families closer together,” said Hawaiian Falls CEO David Busch. “We want families to climb and zip and tackle unique ropes challenges together to create memories that will last a lifetime. Our Adventure Park provides safe, fun and compelling activities for guests of all ages to explore unknown strengths, push boundaries, climb to thrilling heights and even experience a unique 60-foot free-fall. We’re also offering traditional festival games and activities on the ground for guests of all ages and fitness levels.”
 
Hawaiian Falls Adventure Park features a two-level Family Adventure Trail with nine rope bridges connected to five towers; a 70-foot high, 1,000-foot long Zip Line Canopy Tour; three-level Challenge Course with 45 different activities; six-story Free Fall; 30-foot Climbing Wall; and 30-foot Cargo Net Climb. An Adventure Park Day Pass is $24.99 for guests 48 inches and taller; and $17.99 for children 42 - 47 inches tall, senior citizens and active duty military personnel. Children less than 42 inches tall can participate on the Family Adventure Trail for $5 per child. All Big Kahuna Day Pass admissions receive 10 festival tickets during the Fall Festival and Christmas Festival.
  
Hawaiian Falls also opened the Aloha Event Center which features a Family Arcade, Birthday Rooms, an Ice Cream Shoppe and meeting facilities with full-service catering for groups ranging from 250 persons in a classroom setting; 275 for a seated dinner; 300 theatre-style; or 400 for receptions.
 
Hawaiian Falls Adventure Park offers a team building program for businesses and corporations, school districts, churches and other organizations looking to have fun together while improving communications, instilling trust among team members, learning problem-solving skills, and improving overall effectiveness and productivity.
 
With safety as the top priority, Hawaiian Falls Adventure Park carefully selected a full-body harness and Smart Belay System by EDELRID—considered the safest in the world according to the San Diego Zoo. The Smart Belay System is a set of two lobster-claw lanyards in which one is always connected to the safety line. Unless one claw is locked on the line, the second claw will not open, ensuring the guest is always secured. Hawaiian Falls has a minimum of two safety check points for each zip line—one on the ground, and a second at the top of each tower.
 
Adventure Park attractions:
Closed-toed and closed-heel shoes are required for guests using the Adventure Park.
 
• The Family Adventure Trail features 9 rope bridges and tunnels on three levels. Family members who are at least 42-inches tall may participate solo, while guests under 42-inches must be accompanied by someone 17 years or older. Weight limit is 250 pounds per person. 
 
A helmet, full-body harness and smart belay system are required for all of the following:
• The three-level Challenge Course with 15 different ropes activities on each level, ranging from 2-feet to 60-feet off the ground, for a total of 45 distinct challenges. Guests practice using the smart belay system to navigate different challenges and must demonstrate proficiency on one level before advancing to the next level, finishing the third level with the Tiki Zip Line, for a unique challenge-by-choice experience. Guests must be at least 48-inches tall and weigh at least 60 pounds but no more than 250 pounds to participate.

• Zip Line Canopy Tour includes two 500-foot long, 60-to-15-foot high zip lines that traverse the park. The Smart Belay System is also used on this attraction. Guests must be at least 48-inches tall and weigh at least 60 pounds and no more than 250 pounds.
 
•  Free Fall offers the adrenaline-pumping thrill of jumping off a seven-story tower and free falling with the security of a full-body harness and auto-belay system to guide the guest safely to the ground. Guests must be at least 48-inches tall and weigh at least 60 pounds and no more than 250 pounds.
 
• The Cargo Net Climb requires balance, strength and determination to reach the top of this 30-foot rope ladder. An auto-belay system is used for this attraction.
 
• Use upper body strength and secure footwork to navigate a 30-foot tall Climbing Wall. An auto-belay system is used for this attraction.
 
Hawaiian Falls’ outdoor Fall Festival started October 3 and runs through November 23, featuring arts & crafts; bounce houses; a pumpkin patch and pumpkin decorating stations; LIVE entertainment; Catch & Release fishing pond; and the Spooky Lazy River Boat Ride. In addition, the park will offer a Trick or Treat Trail 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday, October 31. Entrance to the festival grounds and family arcade is free. Attractions are priced individually, ranging from $1 - $8 each. Hours are 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays.
 
“Our Fall and Christmas Festivals allow us to offer something for the whole family while introducing the idea that healthy activity is achievable and fun for families that might not consider themselves adventurous.  Our Adventure Park concept is a “Challenge by Choice” experience, meaning an individual challenges himself and once they accomplish a task they advance to something more challenging. We hope bystanders will see how much fun people are having and decide to try a low impact activity. Almost everyone can have fun on the Family Adventure Trail.”

Hawaiian Falls White Settlement Adventure Park and Aloha Event Center are located at 301 N. Las Vegas Trail, behind Veterans Park in White Settlement.  From Loop 820, go East on Clifford Street, then turn right (South) on N. Las Vegas Trail. The main entrance is on the right, just before the post office. 

Celebrating more than a decade of bringing families closer together, Hawaiian Falls operates water parks in Garland, The Colony, Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco. In White Settlement and Pflugerville, Hawaiian Falls operates Adventure Park – Water Park – Event Center combinations. More information is available at hfalls.com http://hfalls.com>  http://hfalls.com http://hfalls.com/>  or facebook.com/hfalls http://facebook.com/hfalls>  http://facebook.com/hfalls> .  

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The 3rdAnnual Color Me Green 5K & Caterpillar Dash benefiting TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation raised more than $26,000 for childhood cancer research. 

“The Color Me Green 5k drew 450 walkers and runners in support of the fight against childhood cancer,” said Julie Armstrong of Dallas, an avid runner and this year’s event chair. “We are always looking to further TeamConnor’s mission, bring awareness and raise money for childhood cancer.” 

Hundreds of runners, walkers, families and childhood cancer advocates showed their support by coloring Frisco Square Green on Saturday, October 4th. A special balloon release kicked off the 5k in honor of cancer survivors, patients, and those who have lost their lives to the disease.

The event included fun activities for the whole family such as face painting, complimentary massages, a bounce house, snacks and music. At the Green Party and awards ceremony, medals were presented to the top overall male and female finishers, as well as to the top three finishers in various age categories. Prizes were also awarded for the “Greenest” male and female.

Sponsors included Humana, Caliber Home Loans, Cook Children’s Physician Group, Group and Pension Administrators, Marchand & Rossi, LLP, Ray Chiropractic, Chris Vogeli and Joy and Tait Cruse.

TeamConnor hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds for childhood cancer research, including the Northwestern Mutual Clay Shoot November 6 and the III Forks Golf Classic & Auction Dinner on May 3-4, 2015.  In addition, TeamConnor’s national Coins for Kids with Cancer® program raises funds in schools, churches, offices and organizations to help fund childhood cancer research.

TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is the legacy of eight-year-old Connor Cruse of Frisco who lost his four-year battle with neuroblastoma in 2009. TeamConnor has awarded $1.6 Million in funding for childhood cancer research and patient programs across the country since 2008.  

Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. In the United States, cancer kills more children every year than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined. Yet, the National Cancer Institute allocates less than four percent of its funds to pediatric cancer research. TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is dedicated to serving families, building awareness, and raising funds for research to help cure childhood cancer.

For more information on how to join the fight against childhood cancer, please visit teamconnor.org or Facebook.com/TeamConnor. 

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Sundance Square Plaza Tree Lighting Ceremony

Sundance Square will kick off the holidays with the lighting of the Sundance Square Christmas Tree on Saturday, November 22. Designed with the community in mind, the tree lighting will feature Santa Claus, musical and theatrical entertainment, as well as photo opportunities throughout the plaza.

“The 58-foot blue spruce tree we have chosen this year is stunning,” said Tracy Gilmour, marketing director for Sundance Square. “The tree will sit in the center of the plaza until New Year’s Day and will be decorated with thousands of lights and gorgeous trimmings.  Celebrating the holidays in Sundance Square has always been a great tradition and this will be another great year with family and friends.” 

The Sundance Square Christmas Tree will make its way from Everett, Michigan to Texas where it will arrive on November 17.  The blue spruce tree will be decorated throughout the week with LED lights that are 100 percent offset with pollution-free Texas wind power from Sundance Square’s energy partner, Green Mountain Energy Company.  

This is the fifth year that Sundance Square has committed to being “green” using LED lights and offsetting the emissions from the tree, which has the environmental impact of taking a car off the road for nearly 22,000 miles or the equivalent of a Texan driving to the North Pole and back three times. 

Family-style festivities begin November 22 at 4 p.m. with choirs on the main stage, strolling entertainers, classic holiday characters, as well as new shops and restaurants to explore.

The tree lighting ceremony will begin shortly after 6:00 p.m. featuring Santa Claus, who will stay to greet children until 10:30 p.m.

Santa’s workshop will offer holiday photo opportunities for families. Three candy-theme sculpted elements are a great spot for children to explore and have a family photo taken as kids wait to see Santa Claus.

Holiday keepsake photos with Santa are only $10 each (cash only) with the proceeds benefiting a scholarship fund established by the Fort Worth Sister Cities’ Youth Scholarships. Santa will be in Sundance Square through December 23. Check www.sundancesquare.com for specific times. 

Holiday fun will continue in Sundance Square with the opening of The Cheesecake Factory on December 9 at Commerce and 4th Streets.  Sundance Square also recently announced Overland Sheepskin Company will be opening its first Texas store in time for the Christmas shopping season. 

The 32 Annual XTO Energy Parade of Lights will step off at 6:00 pm on Friday, November 28 at Belknap and Throckmorton. Cowboy Santas volunteers will collect new, unwrapped toys along the parade route before the parade begins.  

New Year’s Eve festivities in Sundance Square include Luke Wade, a current contender on NBC’s seventh season of The Voice, as the headliner with the Indie-Folk Americana Duo Dawn and Hawkes scheduled to open from the Plaza Stage beginning at 9:30 pm.

Sundance Square is a vibrant, award-winning entertainment district spanning 35 blocks in downtown Fort Worth. The multi-use development attracts more than 10 million visitors each year.  The one-acre outdoor plaza, which opened in late 2013, features new restaurants, shops, water features, stage, four 32-foot umbrellas, and covered seating. For more information about Sundance Square, visit sundancesquare.com or follow the multi-use development on Facebook.com/sundancesquare or Twitter@sundancesquare.

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Luke Wade

Sundance Square has selected Fort Worth-based singer Luke Wade, a current contender on NBC’s seventh season of The Voice, as the headliner for the Sundance Square New Year Eve’s Celebration.

“Luke Wade will be an exciting addition to our New Year’s Eve plans,” stated Tracy Gilmour, Sundance Square’s director of marketing. “We want our guests to come to Sundance Square and enjoy the ambiance as well the incredible musical talent from our stage. It’s a wonderful way to ring in the New Year.”

A soulful singer, Wade has been entertaining crowds for 11 years throughout Texas.  His insightful and thoughtful lyrics have made him one of the most popular contestants on The Voice.  Wade, 31, chose to join Pharrell Williams’ team and will battle it out with the other amateur artists in the quest to win the competition.

Austin-based Dawn and Hawkes will open for Wade. The indie-folk-americana duo of Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes has had a successful first year touring the country. In June, they recorded and released their self-produced EP, “Golden Heart” featuring signature harmonies and an indie-folk sound influenced by Americana, country-rock, and classic Beatlesque-pop.

Sundance Square Plaza will begin the free New Years festivities with bands taking the stage at 9:45 pm. Champagne will be available for purchase in the plaza. Restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory, will be serving guests throughout Sundance Square during the evening.

Sundance Square is a vibrant, award-winning entertainment district spanning 35 blocks in downtown Fort Worth. The multi-use development attracts more than 10 million visitors each year.  The one-acre outdoor plaza, which opened in late 2013, features new restaurants, shops, water features, stage, four 32-foot umbrellas, and covered seating. For more information about Sundance Square, visit sundancesquare.com or follow the multi-use development on Facebook.com/sundancesquare or Twitter@sundancesquare.

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Julius Randle Cure Cancer Jam Pictured from left to right: Joy Cruse, founder of TeamConnor; 10-year-old Ashley Piltz, leukemia survivor; Los Angeles Laker Julius Randle holding three-year-old leukemia patient Jace Poncio; Yvonne Bond and Derrick Shelby, tournament chair and TeamConnor board member.

TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation hosted the Julius Randle Cure Cancer Jam basketball tournament September 27th at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, TX.  Randle, an NBA rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers, attended the event where he watched competitive play among some of the top high school picks in the country and spent time with children battling cancer.  Randle was a member of TeamConnor's Junior Advisory Board while in high school and college. Randle considers the fight against childhood cancer an important mission and has pledged to continue to help kids in their battle.  More than 250 players participated in the tournament raising more than $10,000 for childhood cancer research. TeamConnor is named after Connor Cruse who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of four and lost his four-year battle in 2009. The organization has raised more than $1.6 million for childhood cancer research.