Charity named for late Hampton boy keeps raising funds to battle cancer
A little boy with a fighting spirit has inspired family and friends in World Wrestling Entertainment to continue his fight by raising money for cancer research.
Connor Michalek of Hampton Township died in April at the age of 8 after a long battle with medulloblastoma, a rare cancer that affects the brain and spinal cord.
As a fan of the wrestlers on WWE, Connor had the opportunity to meet his idols through a Make-A-Wish wish and formed a friendship with the members of the organization.
When Connor died, Stephanie McMahon, WWE chief brand officer, and her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE executive vice president of talent, creative and live events, formed Connor's Cure, a charity they personally funded through the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation in order to raise money for pediatric brain- and spinal-cancer research and medical care for children and their families.
Connor's family is working to raise money for the fund by hosting the first Connor's Cure Golf Outing on Saturday, Sept. 27, at Pittsburgh North Golf Course in Richland Township.
“I want to help other children and their families not go through what Connor went through, and we're trying to find a cure because there are too many kids in this world who are dying of this illness,” said Sandi Stritzinger, Connor's aunt, who is helping organize the event.
Already, donors have helped to raise more than $109,000, more than half of Connor's Cure's initial goal.
“We are thankful to Connor's family for organizing and hosting the Connor's Cure first annual golf outing,” said Molly Vogel, development coordinator, annual giving, at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. “The event and support from the family will continue to help provide funds for pediatric brain- and spinal-cancer research at the hospital.”
While Connor had to undergo long surgeries, hospitalizations, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, he still lived his life like many of his peers. Connor played baseball for three years and created smiles with his outgoing personality.
The WWE created a promotional video about Connor's life and relationship with members of the WWE organization that is played during every live event to solicit donations for Connor's Cure, and, Stritzinger said, she hopes the money they raise through the outing and online donations will help to eventually find a cure because that's what Connor would have wanted.
“He is still doing his job that he was put on this earth for; he's still helping others,” Stritzinger said.
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or email@example.com.