Taking the Final Leap Towards a Cure

In October of 2009, Andrea Henderson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Known affectionately as “Froggy” by her friends, family, and students, she embodied a commitment to the education and well-being of the high school students she was privileged to know and teach – both on and off the ice. Within the academic halls of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, Froggy was an art teacher. But when a group of young hockey players asked her to sponsor their team so they could represent their school on the ice, she believed that together, she and these students could lead the team to success. With the start of the 1998 academic year, the ERHS Ice Raiders grew under Froggy's guidance, eventually achieving varsity status.

Froggy’s life as an educator would change dramatically when she received her cancer diagnosis, which necessitated an early retirement and a step back from the students whose success had become her life’s work. Seeking the best possible outcome, Froggy came to Johns Hopkins for her cancer care, but her disease proved more powerful than even the strongest treatments. Only seven months later, she passed away, leaving behind a life and legacy that would continue to be celebrated by all who knew her for years to come.

This celebration of Froggy and the 30 years she spent shaping young, creative minds continues to this day, as the Andrea Henderson Memorial Fund prepares to bring back Leap Towards a Cure for its 10th and final year. What started as a small hockey tournament organized by a group of alumni from the ice hockey team at Eleanor Roosevelt High School has grown into a multi-day tournament and festival unified in its mission to raise funding for the research and treatment of cancer. To date, Leap Towards a Cure (LTAC) has raised over $165,000 for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD, in support breast cancer, personalized medicine, and pediatric oncology research.

In recognition of a decade of celebration and support, in this 10th and final year LTAC has set the incredible goal of reaching $200,000 raised toward the efforts of cancer researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center – and this year’s event is set to be the biggest one yet.

For those who play hockey, regardless of their level of play, the event is an opportunity to get out on the ice by participating in the Leap Towards a Cure tournament, which will take place from Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4 at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Maryland. Teams and individual players can register to participate at leaptowardsacure.com

For those who are not a part of the tournament, however, this year’s event promises to be just as exciting off of the ice, with a community festival planned at the rink during the afternoon of Saturday, August 3. Geared towards families and friends of all ages, the festival brings our local community together in a spirit of fun and generosity, spurred by a desire to support patients and families receiving their care at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The event will include food, a free open skate session, and a chance to watch our hockey players go head to head in the highly anticipated skills competition, as well as a silent auction featuring a variety of memorabilia, gift cards, and local experiences to bid on and enjoy. And of course, in honor of Froggy’s legacy as an art teacher, there will be a variety of arts and crafts stations for children and their parents to express their creativity.

Ten years ago, what started out as the idea for a single game has turned into a four-day tournament and festival – all because of one woman’s impact on the lives of so many in her school and her community. As we come together to Leap Towards a Cure one final time, we hope that you will join us in remembering Froggy, as well as helping to improve the lives of other patients and families facing a cancer diagnosis.

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