It’s something no parent is ever prepared for. Cancer. The very word makes the world stop spinning. It doesn’t seem real. But it is, for one in 285 children in the United States every year. And for many families, it turns life upside down.

Children with cancer have to grow up too quickly.

But that’s why we’re here. Seventy percent of the children coping with cancer in Arizona seek treatment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Ninety-five families walk through our doors at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) each day in search of a cure. In search of hope. Here they’ll find it, and here, we make sure kids still get to be kids.

Nearly 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer at the CCBD will survive. Some types of leukemia have a 90 percent survival rate. But other cancers have very poor outcomes.

So, we need to do more. Tragically, just 4 percent of federal funding for cancer research is allocated for pediatrics. Four percent. Only a passionate commitment to research, discovery and innovation will deliver a cure. And 4 percent won’t cut it.

And children deserve more than 4 percent. They are our future. Each one deserves a lifetime.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a disease we’re all too familiar with at Phoenix Children’s. In 2016, 320 patients were diagnosed with cancer here, and care teams managed 22,380 appointments, up from 8,900 in 2007. We’ve just kicked off our Time to Shine Campaign and will light up our city in solidarity with our fight to offer patients hope and healing.

Phoenix Children’s will open our new state-of-the-art cancer center on Oct. 18. Renowned pediatric oncologist Cynthia Wetmore has recently joined us to helm the new center. Together with a team of experts, she will lead passionate efforts toward lengthening lifespans for our patients. She’ll navigate forward-thinking research and clinical trials that will impact our children, our region and even those around the globe, for years to come.

Together with support from a vested business community and individuals who want to make a real difference, we plan to raise $1 million to support research and cutting-edge care at Phoenix Children’s. Please support our partners, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Fiesta Bowl Charities, Vestar Properties, Camelback Volkswagen, Subaru and Mazda.

The new facility marks the start of a new day for our cancer patients, but the programming and ongoing operational expenses at our new center are costly endeavors. Now it’s your Time to Shine for our patients by offering your support.

The families that enter the doors of the CCBD do not leave unchanged. Coping with a child fighting cancer is a journey that can have a happy ending. I’ve seen firsthand the joy that comes with remission — with the promise of a future.

You have the chance to make a direct impact the lives of real patients. Whether you own a business that wants to be involved in the Time to Shine campaign or simply want to contribute what you can, no dollar is lost in the race to raise $1 million.

The next life we save could be someone you love. Please consider making a gift today — because children deserve more than 4 percent.

To learn more about how you can change lives at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, visit or call 602-933-4483.

Steve Schnall is the senior vice president and chief development officer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation, the fundraising wing of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.