Hope for Autumn Foundation
A backyard crawfish boil to raise money for a little girl named Autumn in 2008 has grown into a local tradition.
The Hope for Autumn Foundation will host its 10th annual Crawfish Boil on April 29, from 3-9 p.m. on the Main Green of Ross Bridge. There will be live music by Pioneer Chicken Stand & the Divines, entertainment for children including bounce houses, face painting, balloon animals and ice cream, as well as hamburgers, hot dogs and all you can eat crawfish prepared by Louisiana native John Hein. The event is BYOB and family-friendly.
Hope for Autumn Foundation is a 501(c)3 public charity that raises money to support multiple families who struggle financially because of childhood cancer. Specifically, the money raised helps with expenses such as mortgages, rent, car payments and utilities, as well as funds thousands of dollars for childhood cancer research.
It all started in 2008, when Travis and Anne Diggs hosted a neighborhood crawfish boil as a means to financially assist their family friends' daughter, Autumn, who was battling with a form of leukemia. The boil was so successful they decided to host it again in 2009.
By 2010, the Lawrence family had gotten on their feet, and they told the Diggs to find another local family to support. A mutual friend introduced the Diggs to the Knerr family, whose 6-year-old daughter, Emily, had recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Along with gratefully accepting the financial assistance, the Knerr family asked that a portion of the funds raised be donated to an innovative research program at Children’s of Alabama.
Emily and Autumn recovered, and the friendship between the Diggs and Knerrs remained. Through their experience, they learned the need for financial assistance amongst families battling childhood cancer, the need for childhood cancer research funding and the need for childhood cancer awareness. In 2012, Hope for Autumn Foundation was established.
Travis Diggs remains the president of the foundation, and Amanda Knerr the executive director.
Though Emily did relapse at the age of 13 in 2015, she is now on maintenance chemo and supports the foundation’s mission as well.
“My favorite day of the year is the crawfish boil,” she said.
To purchase tickets, go to hopeforautumnfoundation.org. Tickets are $30 online, $35 at the door and $5 for children 5-12 years old.