After getting sacked in a football game in October 2022, 13-year-old Asher found himself at Phoenix Children's with a broken leg. While he was there, he noticed many kids at the hospital with more serious needs who depend on the lifesaving care Phoenix Children's provides, and he wanted to do more.
That’s how Scoring 4 Kids was born—an ongoing fundraising campaign where young athletes can fundraise, all while playing their favorite sports.
“I want to use this platform to help other kids and to show others how to get involved,” Asher says.
Peter, Asher's dad, says he's amazed and proud of his son, especially because he got interested in philanthropy at an early age. Even before Asher became a Phoenix Children's patient, he and his older sister, Grace, 17, encouraged golfers at a local course to donate to Phoenix Children's in exchange for free coffee and golf balls they collected. They chose Phoenix Children's at the urging of their father, who lost his brother to leukemia as a kid. Peter says that although his brother was at a different children's hospital in another state, he will never forget the care and support his brother and family received.
Asher was passionate about fundraising before his injury but spending time at Phoenix Children's inspired him to take it to the next level. He decided to ask for pledges for every birdie or par he makes in competitive golf, touchdown he throws in football, or goal he scores in lacrosse.
Most recently, Asher raised over $4,200 during the final two tournaments of the fall 2022 season. He shot 19 pars and six birdies on behalf of Scoring 4 Kids. He is now working with Phoenix Children's Foundation to encourage other young athletes to join his fundraising efforts.
“I hope to raise $50,000 by 2024 through Scoring 4 Kids,” Asher says. “I hope it becomes a world-known thing.”
If you're a young athlete who wants to fundraise for Phoenix Children's, find out more about Scoring 4 Kids and how you can join this competition for a cause.
“It's a really cool feeling,” Asher says. “It makes you feel super good.”
When Pia was 13 years old, she wanted to start a business on Etsy. She loved shoes and wanted to find a creative way to express herself. However, instead of entrepreneurship she chose to design shoes for a cause.
“I thought it would be good to express creativity while giving back,” says Pia, who is now 16.
That cause became even more personal after her younger brother, Nevaan, 11, was admitted to Phoenix Children's in October 2020 and diagnosed with a blood disorder.
“It was a scary and stressful time for our family,” says Pia.
During that time, Pia says she was impressed by Phoenix Children's Child Life specialists who helped Nevaan understand his diagnosis and who brought comfort to her family during that scary time by doing the “little things,” including playing games with the family. They helped keep their minds off being in the hospital. Pia adds that as her brother's health improved, she observed other kids who weren't as lucky.
“I wanted to bring hope to other kids in the hospital for the long haul,” Pia says.
And hope is what she brings. For three years now, Pia has designed personalized sneakers for kids. On her Instagram page, Sneakers for Smiles, Pia states her goal is to “create and donate hand-painted sneakers for kids who are dealing with serious illnesses to raise their spirits.”
At Phoenix Children's, Pia works with Child Life to gather the information she needs to personalize every pair of shoes she creates. She then buys and designs the shoes, bringing young patients the brightest smiles. Even Nevaan got a specialized pair designed with a Phoenix Suns theme, highlighting his love of basketball. He says his dream is to one day play in the NBA.
“I liked the surprise. It made me happy that my sister did that for me,” says Nevaan.
Thus far, Pia has made 15 pairs of shoes for patients at Phoenix Children's, with plans for more. She's also working with other local nonprofits to reach kids from all backgrounds facing medical challenges.
And as she creates shoes, Nevaan follows suit by making bookmarks and comics with messages of hope like, “Stay strong.”
“He has his way of giving back,” his parents say.
Meet More Young Hope Makers
A week after his first birthday, Nico started receiving care at Phoenix Children's for myelodysplastic syndrome and dyskeratosis congenita, a rare form of bone marrow failure. By the time he was 3 years old, he had received two bone marrow transplants.
Nico's mom, Veronica, says she can't say enough about the care and treatment Nico received at Phoenix Children's. She says, “Each time Nico was admitted to the hospital, toys would be waiting for him in his room. This made his time in the hospital so much easier.”
After his second transplant, Nico expressed his desire to give back. Every year since then, he has donated his birthday presents to Phoenix Children's. He also sells homemade granola to raise funds to buy toys for patients.
At just 8 years old, Viera organized a toy drive for the Phoenix Children's Toy Program. She wanted to bring holiday cheer to kids spending the holidays in the hospital by providing gifts for them. Her goal was to donate 100 toys.
Viera had a very personal reason for her toy drive. In 2019, she was diagnosed with a malignant germ cell brain tumor. She underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of intense radiation treatment at Phoenix Children's. Her bravery during her grueling treatment earned her the nickname Valiant Viera.
Although Viera experienced her own difficult journey, she wanted to ensure other children found healing through the power of play. Thanks to her efforts and support from her friends and fans, Viera was able to donate 300 toys.
Sela, Ari and Alex
Triplets Sela, Ari and Alex were born just seconds apart and weighed 10 pounds combined. They were immediately transferred to Phoenix Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Their mother, Shelli, credits Phoenix Children's with saving their lives.
Because of the lifesaving care they received, Sela, Ari and Alex, now 23, give back by wrapping 300 stuffed animals to distribute to patients at Phoenix Children's, and boxes of chocolate for all the nurses' stations, every year on Valentine’s Day.
They are also making their mark on the music world with their band, Just Seconds Apart, and have toured with Jesse McCartney and Plain White T's. However, performing for patients and their families—the audience close to their hearts—is their passion, and they have performed multiple times at Phoenix Children's Garth Brooks performance stage.
Keystone Montessori School
There's nothing like a bit of classroom competition at Keystone Montessori School in Phoenix—especially when the prize goes to the patients at Phoenix Children's.
To close out 2022, four Keystone students, Diya, Lily, Patrick and Liam, had a fundraising competition. Diya and Lily held a bake sale with cookies and cupcakes and raised close to $200. Patrick and Liam raised $110 by making and selling hot cocoa and popcorn.
The competing groups came up with the idea to support Phoenix Children's because one of their classmates received treatment there. They feel a close connection and say bringing in their donation to Phoenix Children's Foundation “felt awesome!” They hope to continue supporting patients and families in the future.
Follow us as we shine the spotlight on young philanthropists who have made it their mission to support Phoenix Children's. If you have a Young Hope Maker story, we want to hear from you!