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  • Writer's pictureTom Blair

January 2, 2024

January 2, 2024 would have been the day for Catherine’s 21st birthday party. 


With the approach of this date, we thought a great deal about the future of the foundation started in Catherine’s name.  We have, with your generous support, carried on for over 12 years.  Together we have done great things – raising half a million dollars and funding nearly twenty grants.  We have kept alive the memory of our daughter, often organizing events that she would have enjoyed and using the artwork that she created.  


But in late 2023 we were confronted by the upcoming reminder of an adulthood that Catherine never reached.  In response, we considered whether it was appropriate to go on with flowers and butterflies.  Or whether we should retire those cherished images, lovingly press them between the pages of a scrapbook, and close the history of the Catherine Elizabeth Blair Memorial Foundation.  Catherine’s birthday would be a logical occasion for doing that.  We could make a final grant and thank you all for the last time.


Honestly, it is hard to imagine the 21-year-old Catherine.  What would she have looked like?  How would her personality and talents have developed?  What would she have said about the world of 2024, once she surveyed the situation with her penetrating gaze?  On one point, though, we can be certain.  Catherine would not have backed down easily.  Catherine would not have ended a fight until she was good and ready.


So we ultimately decided that our fighting days are not over.   Having made the decision, we were joined by a dedicated group of friends who were willing to try something new to jump start our fundraising efforts.  On Giving Tuesday, that group generously matched the donations of over 100 supporters. In a short period of time, we more than doubled the amount raised in any prior event!  The success of this effort means a great deal to us; it is the best possible way to commemorate the 21st anniversary of Catherine’s birth.  A new $25,000 grant will be given to Dr. Anthony Sandler at Children’s National to help propel his research into clinical trials in the next few years. 


Our foundation will continue, inspired as in the past by the images of our little girl.  Going forward, though, our inspiration will come from something more; something that will never be captured in any image and lies almost beyond our power of imagination.


We will be driven by thoughts of the young woman she would have become. 


On January 2, please join us in trying to picture the party that Catherine undoubtedly would have planned for herself. Her specifications for this event would have been thoughtful, detailed, and utterly non-negotiable. Maybe our collective thoughts can conjure it up.  I’m guessing, though, that Catherine would have surpassed anything we can imagine.

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Dec 30, 2023



Dec 29, 2023

As always your words are apt, thoughtful, and beautiful. Thank you for staying in the fight against childhood cancer. I’m sure both Margy and Catherine appreciate your efforts.


Samantha Drennan
Samantha Drennan
Dec 29, 2023

I can somewhat imagine what Catherine's 21st would have been. It would take weeks of preparation. She's make handmade invites in the shape of tacos. There would be pre- and after events. I'm so glad you guys have decided to keep on. Love, Sam

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