If you have cancer, Children’s Cancer Network will always be there for you.”
Ahwatukee fifth grader Jackson Dupps said this and much more last month when he and a dozen other pediatric cancer survivors and their families came together at the CCN’s offices in Chandler.
The occasion for the get-together was a photo shoot of the cancer fighters and their siblings with a brand-new 2021 Toyota Highlander XLE, a donation from Valley Toyota Dealers to benefit Arizona families fighting a nightmare disease.
CCN is raffling off the Highlander this month in hopes of raising $150,000 – money that will be used to serve local families. The raffle coincides with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September.
“Words can’t express our gratitude to Valley Toyota Dealers and excitement about the opportunity to raffle a beautiful new Highlander,” said Patti Luttrell, executive director of CCN.
“We also are so grateful to Jeff Noble Photo for donating beautiful photography and giving our kids a chance to step into the spotlight.”
Jackson and his big brother, Ethan, smiled for the camera alongside cancer survivors and their siblings from across the Valley.
Also in attendance were Jace Hyduchak and his little brother, Brig. Jackson and Jace are best friends and classmates at Monte Vista Elementary.
Jace, too, is a cancer-survivor.
“These boys have fought so hard and have come so far,” said Jackson and Ethan’s mom, Kelli Dupps. “Experiencing childhood cancer is something that changes you forever. These kids are our biggest teachers. They are a constant reminder of what is truly important and of what matters the most.”
The raffle provides Arizonans a simple opportunity to make a difference for families facing a devastating diagnosis. Tickets are priced at $20 for one or $50 for three and are available for purchase at ccnwinacar2021.givesmart.com. CCN will sell a maximum of 8,000 tickets, and the winning ticket will be drawn on September 30.
Proceeds from the raffle will be used to cover basic needs for Arizona families fighting pediatric cancer – things like gas and grocery gift cards.
The American Childhood Cancer Organization notes that 60 percent of families in the United States battling cancer reported spending as much as $10,000 annually on non-medical expenses, including parking, meals away from home and childcare, during their child’s treatment.
“CCN picks up where insurance leaves off,” Luttrell said. “Beyond the medical costs, there are so many expenses that people can’t possibly anticipate. A huge portion of the money we raise is used to help families with basic living expenses – such as gas, groceries and even beds.”
Indeed, the nonprofit earmarks more than $150,000 each year to help families cover these costs. But CCN’s impact goes well beyond financial support.
“CCN is an organization the supports the entire family unit. They work hard to create programs and activities that provide a little something for everyone,” added Kelli.
The nonprofit serves as a primary point of contact for families facing cancer – at the hospital when they receive the diagnosis, throughout their cancer journey and into long-term survivorship.
The organization provides hospital admission kits to help new families navigate the road ahead, adopt-a-family programs for the holidays and back-to-school season, mental health services for families, programs to help siblings cope with cancer, college scholarships, funding for childhood cancer research, advocacy, and a multitude of other services and resources.
“I have been told there is nothing worse in life than losing a child,” said George Hyduchak. “Thankfully, our son Jace is a survivor, but I can tell you firsthand that families fighting childhood cancer face the prospect of that fear every single day. It’s the support of family, friends and community that help get us through it all.”
“Partners like Valley Toyota Dealers make such a difference for families facing that fear,” said Luttrell.
“During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, our goal is to rally the larger community around the cause and ensure no one has to face cancer alone.”