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2020 Street of Hope and George Emerson bring the community together, raise $400,000 for innovative cancer research at Massey

Feb 25, 2021

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For Richmond developer and cancer survivor George Emerson (B.S.’78/B) and four of Richmond’s top builders at Eagle Construction, Eastwood Homes, HHHunt Homes and Main Street Homes, showing and selling new riverfront homes in the Chesterfield neighborhood of Meadowville Landing this year is about more than helping buyers find a home. It is about helping to find a cure for cancer and giving back to communities where they live and work. 

The 2020 Massey Street of Hope opened its doors this past November to offer private, socially-distanced tours of five custom-built homes. The homes showcase the latest in design trends and views overlooking the James River. One of the two homes built by Eagle Construction is serving as this year's Home of Hope, whose entire proceeds will go to support cancer research at Massey, and a portion of all sales will be donated to VCU Massey Cancer Center.

This year’s Street of Hope is on track to double its goal, despite COVID-19, with thanks to the generosity of these builders, trade partners and our 2020 Street of Hope sponsors, including TowneBank Mortgage, National Association of Home Builders, A&A Contractors, County Waste and Napier ERA.

George Emerson George Emerson, Richmond developer, Street of Hope coordinator, VCU Massey Cancer Center Advisory Board member, and cancer patient.

For Emerson, who was diagnosed on New Year’s Eve 2005 with stage 3 squamous cell cancer in his throat and given a 50-50 chance of survival, the Massey Street of Hope is personal. The homes are located in his own neighborhood, which he helped to develop, and he is proud to be at the helm, driving awareness and rallying support from others in the real estate industry to join him in the fight.

Emerson was declared cancer-free on March 10, 2006. As a survivor, he has dedicated his time to being a passionate and tireless advocate for Massey over these 16 years, serving on Massey’s Advisory Board and hosting an annual golf tournament, which alone has raised $2.9 million, in addition to Street of Hope.

For this year’s builders and sponsors, Street of Hope is good for the heart, and it is also good for business. 

“When you align your company with the best organizations, like Massey, it’s amazing what can happen,” says Josh Goldschmidt, president of Eagle Construction of Virginia and Market Eagle. 

“We signed on for Street of Hope because this is good for the heart, but it’s also opened up more doors and opportunities, both personally and organizationally, than we could have imagined.”

“George is so highly respected and does so much to help VCU and to fight cancer, and I wanted Eastwood to be a part of that,” says Spen Curtis, division president of Eastwood Homes. “’Built with Care’ isn’t just a saying at Eastwood Hopes; it is how we live our lives.”

Emerson and Goldschmidt also credit Massey director Robert Winn, M.D., as a motivator of support. Massey is one of two National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers in Virginia and a leader in cancer research, treatment and health equity, and Dr. Winn has a bold vision.

SpenCurtis Photo From left to right, Spen Custis (Division President), Amy Druhot (Director of Sales), Mike Coyle (Director of Construction) in the Eastwood Homes Street of Hope 2020 home.

“When you meet and hear from Dr. Winn about his passion, and the way he talks about Massey and his commitment to providing the highest quality care to everyone, you realize that Massey, and Dr. Winn, are stars in our community,” says Goldschmidt.

“The way VCU plays basketball in their best year; that is the way Dr. Winn and his team operate,” he adds. “Top basketball teams can recruit the best young players. Dr. Winn is recruiting the best researchers and physicians to Massey because of his vision, and is a leader in reducing cancer health inequities. Massey provides VIP cancer treatment, without VIP exclusivity.”

Despite COVID-19, the 2020 Street of Hope is expected to raise more than $400,000.

Emerson hopes these funds will lead to new innovations that will make treatments easier and save lives. “Massey saved my life,” he says and now, he is paying it forward. “I am not sure if it is going to be my gift that will be the one to cure cancer. I sure hope it will. Someone paid for the research that saved my life, and the money we donate now, I hope, will help save someone you love.”

VCU Massey Cancer Center extends its sincerest appreciation to George Emerson, our 2020 Street of Hope sponsors, builders, including Eagle Constructions’s Josh Goldschmidt, Eastwood Homes’ Spen Curtis, HHHunt Homes of Richmond’s Patrick McCarthey, Main Street Homes’ Vernon McClure, and this year’s participants for giving the gift of hope to cancer patients and their families, one home at a time.

There is still time to take a virtual tour of the 2020 Home of Hope and other Street of Hope properties at www.streetofhope.com/builders. For information about corporate sponsorship and support for Street of Hope and other Massey Cancer Center initiatives, please reach out to Ocelia Hudson at ohudson@vcu.edu or 757.268.1570. To make a donation in honor or memory of a loved one affected by cancer, please visit: support.vcu.edu/give/Massey.

Written by: Katherine Layton

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