Watch our virtual Ignite Hope program, and make Arizona shine with hope and light during the holiday season for all of the sick and injured kids at Phoenix Children’s. This year we are committed to showing our patients and healthcare workers that although we’re not together, we are 100% with them in spirit this holiday season.
*up to $5,000
Meet the kids
Each year, thousands of critically ill and injured kids receive care at Phoenix Children’s. We’d like to introduce you to three of them: Gracie, Gustavo and Weston. They and their families have faced unimaginable challenges—but they’ve never lost hope.
Gracie had her first open-heart surgery when she was less than a week old and a heart transplant at 3 months old. When she was 4 years old, she suffered a stroke and lost motor function on the right side of her body. She now wears a brace on her right leg to help her walk, and she regularly goes to Phoenix Children’s for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Gracie’s parents say she’s a brave warrior who inspires her family each day.
Shortly before Gustavo’s sixth birthday, his parents learned that he needed a heart transplant. They brought Gustavo from their home in Puerto Rico to Phoenix Children’s, where they waited 14 months for a donor heart. He relied on a Berlin Heart—a type of temporary mechanical heart—to survive until he received his new heart. Gustavo loves playing soccer, and his parents describe him as “loving and caring” and “a little gentleman.”
Weston was diagnosed in utero with a congenital heart defect. He spent much of his first two years at Phoenix Children’s, undergoing numerous surgical procedures to repair his heart. He’s now an active, outgoing little boy, and his parents say that you would never know he’s been through multiple heart surgeries. Weston likes cars and trucks, golf, and gymnastics.
In October 2011, Katie, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, was diagnosed with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. While Katie was undergoing aggressive treatment at Phoenix Children’s in December 2012, friends from her high school and her church youth group held a candlelight vigil in her honor at the hospital. They wanted to give her something, and they did—the gift of hope.
Not only was Katie looking out her window at the hundreds of kids gathered for her, but other patients also received that same gift as they peered from their windows. And a new tradition was born at Phoenix Children’s–a candlelight walk to celebrate hope, and to lift up the children and families who cope with illness and injury during the holidays.
Katie was able to participate in the first Ignite Hope walk in 2012. Sadly, she passed away on September 17, 2013, but her legacy continues to inspire the Valley each year. Join us and shine your light on those in need of hope and healing this holiday season.