The Connor’s Cup

The Stanford Crew Team will compete against rowers from the University of Wisconsin in the annual Connor’s Cup hosted by the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation 4 PM this Thursday (March. 9th) at the Ford Center located in Stanford University.

The two collegiate teams will battle to race for first with Erg machines to 100 kilometers in an effort to remember the legacy of Connor Dawes – an avid rower who passed away at the age of 18 after fighting a battle with brain cancer – and to stand in solidarity with all individuals suffering from pediatric brain disease. The rowing event also hopes to raise $15,000 dollars to help financially support both the Neurology Department led by Dr. Fisher and his team in the Lucille Packard Hospital in Palo Alto, California and the Neuroscience Department of Wisconsin’s Children Hospital.

The Connor’s Cup, otherwise known as Connor’s Erg Challenge, draws inspiration from Dawes’ love for the sport as well as his aspirations to attend both Stanford and U of Wisconsin. The Milwaukee native lived in Australia and was accepted to Stanford’s Elite Summer Program due to his stellar academic performance and athletic record before passing away. In memory of Connor’s demonstration of courage and his fight against cancer, both of his parents formed the RCD Foundation in June 2013. The registered non-profit aims to improve current medical research and care for cancer patients where according to the foundation’s website: Current clinical treatments only help 50% of children, but leave 90% with lifelong physical and mental impairments.

The organization specifically aims to tackle brain-related issues by spreading awareness and collaborating with research institutions in supporting young patients dealing with brain-related illnesses such as Ependymoma – a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. As a result of the foundation’s agenda and success, Mrs. Dawes who was a nominee for the Pride of Australia Award has led the organization to raise over 1.5 million dollars since its founding.

Vickie Nelson, mother of Scott Nelson ‘19 and a very close family friend of the Dawes family, commented in a phone call interview with The Bell that “there is so much awareness that needs to happen. ” She further shared that “[Scott] had known Connor his whole life. That was the first loss that he had ever experienced.”

The devastation that Scott and Mrs. Nelson felt and the strength they gained that followed the loss of Connor Dawes resembles the Bellarmine community’s resilience in past years of sudden deaths in the community. The story of Connor Dawes is much more connected to Bellarmine than one may think. Connor like many Bellarmine students pursued the dream to combine higher education and school athletic representation. When attending an all-boys school in Australia, he stood as an example of what our school preaches as “being a man for others.” Although he may not be with us in the world, Connor and the thousands of other young teenagers affected by brain diseases should serve as a lesson for all high school students about the virtues of perseverance and bravery.

*Please support the RCD Foundation’s goal by clicking on this link and donating:

*Click on this link if you would like to know more about the RCD Foundation:

*Finally, thank you to Mrs. Nelson of Los Altos for her guidance in this article and spreading awareness.

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