Oro Valley Optimist Club

Oro Valley Optimist Club members, Don Cox, and Jim Oppenheimer, left, present Sara Kroll-Franks, who is with the UMC Pediatric Oncology Dept., with a check for $5,621.63 to be used for iPads and MP3 players for children going through cancer treatment.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Last week, the Oro Valley Optimist Club donated more than $5,500 to the University Medical Center from its Pennies for Kids Cancer fund drive.

The drive, which began last January, raised $4,621, which was added to a $1,000 grant from the Optimist International.

Oro Valley Optimist Club President Don Cox said the money is to solely be used to make a child’s stay at the hospital more enjoyable.

“When kids come in for cancer treatment, they may be there for three hours, they may be there for a day and a half. Some are in isolation because their immune system is so weak,” Cox said. “And as such, it is a very depressing time for them.”

Children dealing with cancer are facing the illness along with the treatment and the side effects that come along with them.

“We want this money used for things like iPads, MP3 players – things like that – that the hospital can’t buy. It will kind of give the kids some uplifting time while they are there,” said Cox.

The items purchased for the children will stay at the hospital to be shared by the children as they come and go in and out for treatment.

The group of 18 members of the Oro Valley Optimist Club are responsible for raising about $15,000 a year, which goes toward a drug awareness day, student scholarships, Project Graduation, Arizona Youth Partnership, dispose-a-med and numerous other youth services within Oro Valley and the Northwest.  

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