The Story Behind the Boil

April 18, 2017

A backyard crawfish boil to raise money for a little girl named Autumn in 2008 has become an local tradition and family favorite event, all in the name of a good cause. In 2008, the Diggs family, Travis and Anne, hosted a small neighborhood crawfish boil as a means to financially assist their family friends whose daughter, Autumn, was battling 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 a 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 desperate 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. The foundation has evolved from a crawfish boil supporting a few families per year, to a 501(c)3 public charity with the ability to support multiple families per year with expenses such as mortgages, rent, car payments, and utilities, fund thousands of dollars of childhood cancer research, and raise awareness of childhood cancer in our community. Travis Diggs remains the president of the foundation, and Amanda Knerr the executive director.

“I had never seen or experienced such generosity towards complete strangers when the Diggs hosted the crawfish boil for us, and I vowed I would do whatever I could to give back and help others facing the same troubles in the future.”

Though Emily did relapse at the age of 13 in 2015, she is doing well now on maintenance chemo and supports the foundation’s mission as well. “My favorite day of the year is the crawfish boil!” she says.

The boil will be held April 29, 2017 from 3-9 on the Main Green of Ross Bridge. Spend your afternoon enjoying all you can eat crawfish prepared by Louisiana native John Hein, hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixings, dancing to live music by Pioneer Chicken Stand and the Divines, and entertaining your kids with bounce houses, face painting, balloon animals and ice cream.