Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children opens new facility

The Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children is helping more and more families, and now they have more space to do so. 

Staff members are holding an open house this week in their new facility, and all members of the public are invited to attend.

The nonprofit's new 2,500 square-foot facility features the Sunshine Boutique - one of their most popular rooms, according to director of development Tyler Mahnke.

"When families come in, we give each cancer warrior a Sunshine Playpack," said Mahnke. "So they grab one of those bags, they get to fill it with all of the toys, blankets, anything they see in here."

Mahnke says they are spacing out families and following protocols to make sure the kids can be in a safe area.

"I just want get people in here so they can actually see and experience what we do and what we offer to families," said founder Chrisie Funari. "We really do rely on the support of our community to offer these programs to families for no charge."

Funari founded the nonprofit in 2014 after she lost her 5-year-old daughter, Ava, to cancer. Since then, the organization has helped 800 families thanks to generous donations from the community.

The main lobby of the building is covered in photos of their cancer warriors. There's also a place for the kids to play and paint, or visit Leo the therapy dog.

Along with their services, Funari says the foundation offers financial assistance - a need that grows daily with the pandemic.

"We hope to move to 10,000 square feet, we hope to have an indoor playground, a larger art studio, a K-9 therapy room, a counseling room," said Funari. "We want to have a facility where families can walk in and feel as if a weight has been lifted off its shoulders."

The foundation's open house in Thursday, April 8, and 30-minute signup slots are available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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