Cannon School freshman raises more than $9,500 in memory of dad

  • Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 1:31 a.m.

CONCORD When Cannon School freshman Catie Kuralt of Concord decided to raise money for this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Light the Night Walk, she had big plans. She wanted to continue her family’s tradition of raising funds and awareness for this organization, and wanted to do it in memory of her father.

In March of 1999, acute myelogenous leukemia took the life of Catie’s father, Juan Chesson. Her mother, Kristen Stephens, began raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2000, when Catie was just one year old, in hopes of one day eliminating leukemia and its allied cancers. In August, Catie took on the reins of the family’s yearly project creating the team “We Are Family” to raise funds and participate in the walk.


“Raising money to support research and to help find a cure for leukemia has become a passion of mine in an effort to help the community while honoring and remembering my dad,” says Catie, whose father passed away two months before she was born. “Even though I never met him, I know he was an incredible man with a love and deep care for others and I want to make him proud by helping those who are suffering in our community. Giving to others helps me feel connected to him and it gives me hope that lives can be saved.”

Inspired by her passion, Cannon’s ninth-grade class took on this fundraiser as their freshman service project for this school year. With the help of her classmates and the more than 60 members of the Cannon community who joined her team, Catie was able to raise more than $9,500 to donate towards research and patient care for those suffering from leukemia and blood related cancers.

“Cannon is a part of our extended family,” says Kristen. “The fact that so many students joined Catie’s team and the entire Cannon community supported this event in memory of Juan, was such an amazing and heartwarming feeling. We are so blessed to have so many people in our lives with such compassion and kindness.”

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