Our Founder

My name is Steven Cantrell and I began my career in fundraising after the loss of my mother (Nancy Cantrell) due to complications from blood cancer in 2003. My mom and I had begun to build a close, loving relationship just months prior to her diagnosis - a relationship that was put on hold when the words many of us have heard before - your mom has Leukemia (cancer). From the day she was admitted into the hospital and until the day she passed, was only 5 short weeks. As a way to cope with the overwhelming loss, I chose to begin raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My first year was kicked off by making a donation, per the request of my dad, for $1,000. I, in turn, raised an additional $500. I learned how to effectively raise funds and quickly turned that effectiveness into raising over $200,000 in 10 years. The funds were raised by building a great team of fellow fundraisers and feeding off of each person’s strengths. The highlight of my LLS fundraising endeavors was being named the Top Fundraiser for the Orange County and Inland Empire Chapter in 2012 and raising over $22,000. I quickly took the knowledge from 2012 and turned the $22,000 into $78,000 via running for Man of the Year in 2013. I was able to win Man of the Year and earned a $50,000 Research Grant in memory of his mom and in honor of a dear friend, Dianna Callahan. Throughout my fundraising career, I continued to grow closer and closer to the children who were beating or battling cancer. It was from this closeness that I ran my Man of the Year campaign. He used their strength to achieve a goal that was once looked upon as unachievable. It was from their strength that Hugging Angels Foundation was started, and founded due my mom’s love of helping children in need.

I run Hugging Angels Foundation while maintaining a full-time sales position with a major transportation company. Finding a balance between work, fundraising and personal time is something I enjoy every day. My philosophy has always been to give back and raise the most amount of funds I can possibly achieve. I believe in quality or quantity and want to help as many children, while building a personal relationship with the families of the children we support.

I want to personally Thank You for taking the time to explore our Hugging Angels Foundation page and thank you for your future support.