Five decades ago, a handful of Phoenix healthcare workers banded together to raise money for families of children with leukemia. Lengthy hospital stays had left these families behind on their mortgage payments, unable to pay for travel expenses or to maintain employment. They gathered at the urging of Sister Madonna Marie Bolton, pediatric supervisor at St. Joseph’s Hospital, who saw the severe financial hardship of families and wanted to help.

Now, the successors of that small group are celebrating its golden jubilee, having raised more than a million dollars over 50 years.

The Leukemia Foundation for Arizona’s Children invites the community to join it in celebrating their 50 years of service Thursday, Oct. 20, with a gala dinner event 6–8:30 p.m. at Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St. Tickets are $75 and will include a silent auction and entertainment.

Still operating on a shoestring, with no paid staff, the small group of volunteers raises funds through grants and donations. They help families with everything from gas money and child care fees to burial expenses, generally responding to requests within days. The foundation has assisted more than 12,000 patients and their family members.

While childhood leukemia is no longer the primarily fatal disorder it was 50 years ago, it is still a serious and sometimes fatal disease.

Tickets to the gala dinner are available at through Oct. 12. Donations are needed also. The Leukemia Foundation for Arizona’s Children is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and an Arizona tax credit qualifying charitable organization.


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