Community Cares: Ava's Tree House to be a safe place for kids battling cancer

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KSAZ) - When a child is fighting cancer, the only thing they want to do is be a kid, but that isn't always possible. One mom, who is all too familiar with the battle, is working to change that.

"I lost my daughter Ava to cancer five years ago and I started Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children," said Crissie Funari.

Crissie Funari has turned her loss into a gain. It wasn't easy but it helped her heal and now thanks to her foundation she helps hundreds of families where a child is battling one form of cancer or another.

"We provide financial assistance to over 300 families a year," says Funari.

Funari is stepping it up and hopeful she can let the kids take their healing, their fight against cancer, to another level. Welcome to Ava's Tree House.

"We want to create a facility where these kids can actually be kids and flourish and play on a playground and experience art in an art room and listen to music," explained Funari.

Brad Taylor was introduced to Funari and her foundation by a social worker. His daughter battles leukemia.

"One of the biggest problems I had battling cancer with my daughter was her desire to go back out into the world and swing on the swings and climb the monkey bars," said Taylor. "It was one of her favorite activities, it was something we did every Saturday, leukemia took away from that."

Because a child who is fighting cancer has a compromised immune system, parks are off limits. Ava's Tree House will be more than a place to go, it will be safe, handicap accessible and sterile.

"We're going to have a family room, we're going to have lily's pad which is going to be a big playground and mimic sort of an indoor park, an art room, a music room and a k9 therapy dog visit room," said Funari.

Visit their website to learn more and donate to help build Ava's Tree House.