Hope for a cure

When researchers are onto a potential cure, hospitals need to act quickly. 

“Sometimes we need resources to fund research that wasn’t planned, when we’re onto something potentially lifesaving and we can’t wait,” says Steve Schnall, senior vice president and chief development officer at Phoenix Children’s. 

That’s where the Hope Fund comes in. The Hope Fund is a critical source of funding for Phoenix Children’s areas of greatest needs—including the hospital’s clinical research programs. 

Phoenix Children’s can use those funds to help a researcher get their project up and running—potentially taking one step closer to funding a cure—while the hospital works to secure additional funding. Without the Hope Fund, this process could take years.

Hope for healing

Oftentimes, Phoenix Children’s donors contribute directly to specific programs, like the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders or the newborn intensive care unit. These gifts are crucial to help the hospital expand and recruit new talent. 

Dr. Mario Otto was recently hired to lead the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD)

But the Hope Fund addresses new and pressing needs as they arise—like purchasing a new, innovative piece of equipment. Typically, the hospital might have to wait months or even a year to work it into the budget. 

“The Hope Fund allows us to move quickly and get that technology as soon as it becomes available. It really gives us the ability to save more children’s lives,” Schnall says. 

Hope for those facing hardship

Recently, the Hope Fund has been instrumental in supporting Phoenix Children’s families experiencing hardship. 

Parents shouldn’t have to choose between going to work or supporting their sick child. But sometimes, extreme circumstances force these dedicated parents to go without work to instead spend hours by their child’s side at Phoenix Children’s. 

“We see a number of families who had children with cancer or heart conditions at risk of not being able to pay their bills—whether rent, car payments or electricity,” Schnall says. 

But thanks to countless donations to the Hope Fund, Phoenix Children’s can act quickly and provide emergency relief to these families through its Patient and Family Hardship Fund. Donors’ generosity meant the hospital provided more than $385,000 to families for household expenses, meals and housing assistance.  

“Because the Hope Fund is set up for urgent and immediate needs, we had resources there to support our families through a very difficult time,” Schnall says remembering the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It helped them stay in their homes—but more importantly, it helped them take care of their children with very, very serious medical problems.” 

Igniting hope with the community

Every December, more than 3,000 people come together to support the Phoenix Children’s community in its Ignite Hope festival.   

The candlelight walk, now in its 10th year, is the Hope Fund’s marquee event, raising more than $3.1 million since its inception. Individuals gather at North High School, then walk down Thomas Road to Phoenix Children’s. It’s a truly inspiring procession—one that ends with carolers and candles held high in solidarity with the whole Phoenix Children’s community.

The Dec. 11 event also has a virtual option so participants across the world can shine their lights for children battling illnesses during the holidays. 

“Ignite Hope is a time for us to stand united in front of the hospital and show our love for the patients, family members, doctors and nurses as they go through really difficult times,” Schnall says. “When you see the kids at the hospital windows looking out and watching the community support them, it’s such a powerful, powerful experience.” 

It’s a season for joy. A season for gratitude. And, most importantly, a season for hope. 

The gift of hope

New and pressing needs arise throughout the year—for equipment, technology and more, often when time is of the essence. That’s why we created the Hope Fund—a critical source of funding for the areas of greatest need at Phoenix Children’s.

Stories matter

If you have a story about how your life has been touched by Phoenix Children’s, we want to hear from you. 

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