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Stepping up to the Massey Challenge in honor of her mom

May 26, 2021

Eleanor Templeton and family

Putting cancer on the run, one step at a time.

That is the goal of Eleanor Templeton, a 24-year-old nursing student and devoted daughter who is stepping up to the Massey Challenge to fight cancer this spring in honor of her mother.

Templeton’s “sweet mum,” as she calls her, has been bravely fighting acute myeloid leukemia since her diagnosis in February 2020 with her family by her side.

The youngest of four children, including sister Ocelia Hudson, who is part of the development and corporate relations team at VCU Massey Cancer Center, Templeton is new to fundraising, but that is not stopping her. Templeton’s 2021 Massey Challenge Team SCOPE raised over $3,500 in a few short weeks, and she has already raised her team goal to $5,000.

Templeton shows no signs of stopping. And, she is inviting others to join her.

Eleanor Templeton in helicopter

Imagining a future without cancer, together

It takes a family to fight cancer. Whether as a patient or spouse, son or daughter, friend or neighbor, or a family of caregivers, like at Massey, it is only together that we can imagine a future without cancer.

“Cancer is one of the hardest trials that many families experience,” says Templeton.

“Mothers carry us far longer than the first nine months. My mum dedicated her body, energy and very heart to being her children's teacher, nurse, advocate, protector\ and home.”

Now, she says, it is her honor to fight for her mom by fundraising for Massey.

The Massey Challenge gives individuals like Templeton and corporations the opportunity to create a team and invite friends and family to step up to fight cancer by joining and/or donating to their teams. The Massey Challenge and VCU Massey Cancer Center is one of two official charity partners of the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K for the last 16 years.

Beating the odds with hope and love (and Massey) by their sides

Acute myeloid leukemia has an average five-year survival rate of 27%, according to the National Cancer Institute. Yet, with Massey by their side, the Templetons are positive about the future.

As Templeton reflected on her family’s cancer journey over the past 15 months, she says she was emboldened by the outpouring of love and support and by the care her mother was receiving at Massey to try her hand at fundraising.

She didn’t have to look far for motivation or for support, as the donations started rolling in. She rallied her personal network of friends and family, fellow students at Sentara College of Health Sciences and Massey Nation to donate in support of her mom.

“I am humbled and honored to play a small part in raising funds for cancer research to give more families more time to love.”

Eleanor Templeton at window with mom

Fighting cancer takes a village. And a nation. 

If there’s a bright side to her mom’s cancer diagnosis, Templeton says, it’s the love and support that has surrounded their family during this journey. And it is Massey Nation.

“My siblings, parents and I have all been repeatedly humbled by the many friends and family who have reached out and supported and loved us through this fight… [and] by seeing others love and encourage the most important person in my life. By the end of her treatments we had a mountain of beautiful cards!”

At Sentara College, Templeton is a member of a student group called SCOPE, which stands for Student Community Outreach Program of Excellence and inspired her team name. SCOPE is committed to making the world a better place by volunteering and fundraising within the community, and particularly by extending much-needed health care services and education to underserved communities, a priority it shares with Massey director, Robert Winn, M.D.

Templeton’s supporters include Hudson, who is humbled by the outflow of support, and in awe of her sister’s newly found fundraising prowess. Hudson’s work focuses on inviting and stewarding corporate champions to give philanthropic support to help advance cancer research, care and treatment for all patients, including her mom.

“As a first-time fundraiser, it is darn impressive to raise $3,300,” says Hudson. “Well done, little sis! Let’s keep it going.”

Creating a future with more Mother’s Days

The funds raised through Templeton’s team will be given to VCU Massey Cancer Center as an unrestricted gift to advance Winn’s priorities in research and community engagement where it’s most needed, getting Massey closer to a future without cancer.

For Templeton, “I run for my mum. I run for my grandparents and cousin who passed because of cancer. I run to see a world without cancer.”

“Cancer shouldn't tear families apart, but sadly it does every day,” says Templeton. “Thank you Massey, thank you VCU, thank you to everyone in the medical profession and to all who have walked with us in this difficult journey. It is because of God's grace and the incredible medical team and research that is happening at Massey that I get to celebrate another Mother's Day with my best friend.”

With Templeton, and Massey Nation, in the fight, we can imagine a future without cancer. Let’s keep the Mother’s Days coming – for Templeton and for all mothers and families affected by cancer.

Watch a video from Eleanor about her family’s journey and show your support with a donation to Team SCOPE and the Massey Challenge at:

Interested in supporting or learning more about the Massey Challenge?

Please visit:

Written by: Katherine Layton

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