Skip to main content

Competing for a Cause

When 8-year-old Anna Brashear went to see her pediatrician about unusual nosebleeds, her family had no idea their lives were about to be forever altered. Anna was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and lost her battle with this horrible disease just 23 days later. In honor of Anna’s memory, her family, parents Bobby and Joanna and three sisters, established the Anna Brashear Foundation and created a signature event focused on Anna’s favorite hobby, gymnastics. Read more about Anna’s story here:


Anna Brashear left this earth entirely too early after losing a battle with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). To carry on her legacy and help other families impacted by AML, Anna’s parents, Bobby and Joanna, established the Anna Brashear Foundation and created a signature event focused on Anna’s favorite hobby.

Anna was a healthy and happy 8-year-old who loved gymnastics. She would practice multiple hours a week. But that all changed on Oct. 8, 2010.

After an appointment with her pediatrician due to some unusual nose bleeds, Anna and her family learned she had AML, and it was progressing very quickly. Cook Children’s doctors did everything they could to fight Anna’s diagnosis, but sadly, it was too far along and she passed away just 23 days later.

When Bobby and Joanna were considering options to honor Anna, all they could think about was how much she enjoyed her favorite sport. Anna had been in gymnastics classes since she was 4 years old.

Bobby and Joanna decided to establish a foundation for Anna, with the help of the Brashear’s local gym, Denton Gymnastics Academy, and the Texas USA Gymnastics community. They then organized the Anna Brashear Memorial Invitational, a gymnastics competition. The invitational allows the invitational allows gymnasts of multiple levels and skill sets to enter the competition.

While the invitational helps us all to remember Anna, Joanna reiterates the event’s other objective: to help families that are going through the fight of their lives.

“We feel that no child and no family should have to go through this,” Joanna said. “We know how helpless it feels, not being able to make everything better for your child. AML has such a low survival rate and is not the most common type of childhood leukemia. AML is so aggressive, and we wanted to help Cook Children’s any way we could. That’s why we founded the Anna Brashear Foundation and Invitational, to help by raising funds for research and treatment. We are hoping and praying that a cure or more effective treatment is just within reach.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Anna Brashear Foundation has donated more than $50,000 to Cook Children’s.

Their success is a work of love and obviously, it takes a lot of teamwork. Joanna said she would encourage others who are contemplating creating community partner events to step up and ask for help.

“There is no way that we could handle all of this on our own. Between friends, family, our community and Cook Children’s Health Foundation, they all have absolutely been wonderful with the support and insight to making these events successful,” she said.

To learn more about creating a community partner event, visit or contact