30 Days of Giving for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Health & Fitness Issue: September 2015

Chrisie & Ava Funari / Photo courtesy Chrisie FunariWhen Chrisie Funari's daughter Ava was being treated for stage four neuroblastoma at Phoenix Children's Hospital, Funari knew that, one day, she wanted to give back to the children and families she saw there.

Tragically, that day came sooner than she'd hoped when Ava, age 5, lost her battle with cancer. To honor Ava's memory and help other families through the hellish ordeal of cancer treatment, Funari established the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children in 2014. The foundation raises money to help families with travel and medical expenses and to provide children in treatment with little bursts of joy in the form of “Sunshine Packs,” backpacks stuffed with toys, books, activities and more. This month, Funari has brought a Sunshine pack and a $500 check for a different child and family at PCH each day as part of ACFC's inaugural “30 Days of Giving” initiative.

“My daughter was treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, so we have a close relationship with them. Phoenix Children's Hospital treats the most pediatric patients in the state with cancer,” Funari says. “We just thought, in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, why don't we help one family a day?”

Thanks to generous donations from Apple and from Arizona Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt and his wife Amy, Funari has also been able to gift cancer-patient teens with 20 iPad Minis and children with 100 “Goldy Bears” outfitted with the first baseman's jersey. The experience has been overwhelming for Funari.

“It's really rewarding. It means a lot to me personally to go in there and deliver those backpacks and the checks to the families because I've walked in their shoes, and I know what it's like, and it's hard and it's isolating and its financially difficult,” she says. “Any help that we can provide the families and smiles we can put on the faces is totally worth it.”

How to get involved:

 

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