HEAL and Miracle Mile Team Up for Backpack Drive

IMG_5319The Miracle Mile Deli in Phoenix has partnered with The Happily Ever After League to insure that children of moms with cancer won’t start school this year without backpacks.

As HEAL supporters know, cancer can cause financial devastation in families. Those troubles can trickle down to the kids, including basic needs. This year, HEAL hopes to provide fifty kids with what they need to get a great start to the school year. The backpack drive runs through July.

Miracle Mile Deli VP Josh Garcia contacted HEAL to see how he could help. Outreach Coordinator Karen Phelps told him of the back to school drive and the HEAL castle of backpacks now sits on the dessert counter at Miracle Mile’s 16th street location. Patrons pick a backpack, make their donation and receive a tax deduction all right there in the deli. Miracle Mile has been a Valley staple for over sixty years and recently opened the new location in Phoenix.

“We are thrilled to have this special help from Miracle Mile and Josh,” says Lauren. “It means so much that our HEAL kids will go to school prepared with backpacks and supplies. It takes one more worry away from our moms.”

Visitors can make a donation at Miracle Mile Deli, 4433 N. 16th St. in Phoenix.

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It’s Tea Time

IMG_9610The Tea, one of the “don’t miss” events of the social season, is April 3 at the new Camby Hotel in Phoenix. Hats, tea attire and your best girlfriends are all welcome.

The Fairytale Tea, which sells out each year, is a welcome afternoon of decorating, tea and friendship with proceeds going directly to women in Arizona living with cancer and its effects.

This fundraiser works a bit differently. Tables are theme decorated according to the fairy tale of your choice. In any given year, you might encounter Pinocchio, A Secret Garden or Cruella DeVille. Groups get together, purchase a table and decorate it. Each year, décor becomes more festive and competitive. Yes, there is a prize for the best decorated table. Of course, you can attend without decorating. There are seats available for those without the yen to design.

The event is slated for 1-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 3 at the new Cambry Hotel, formerly the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix. Tickets are $60 for individuals and $600 for a table. Corporate sponsorship is also available. Have any friends with a company?

“We anticipate the 9th Annual Fairytale Tea to sell out this year,” said HEAL founder Lauren Daniels. “The day is such a wonderful celebration and our table hostesses really go all out with their table themes from the Frog Prince to Mary Poppins and Tinkerbelle to Snow White.  The day simply cannot be explained, it needs to be experienced.”

The Tea brings in a large portion of the organizations funds and has become a favorite event for HEAL supporters. Funds are distributed to an average of 80 mothers per year as they deal with the challenges of cancer. HEAL’s support helps pay for utility and medical bills as well as HEALing House programs, Holiday Outreach and a Food Pantry which offers support to the entire family unit. HEAL’s scholarship will be presented at the tea to a student whose mother was a recipient of HEAL. The fund is in memory of Laura Mylonas, a HEAL mom who lost her battle to cancer.

“Since 2004 we have helped nearly one thousand moms facing cancer recovery. We have an obligation to continue supporting as many as we can.  Our goal is to spread the word and hope even more table hostesses will sign up for a day to remember,” added Daniels.


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The Key to Happiness

This past week we had to say good bye to my Grandmother who just turned 93. She lived a long and happy life.  It has made me think alot about the key to happiness.

Although it is challenging for me to work with others who have cancer considering I am a cancer survivor as well, I still try to find joy in each day and will not let cancer stand in the way of my happiness. It really has a lot to do with the very powerful tool we all have which is our attitude.

I have found three quotes on the Internet from unknown authors that perfectly sum up how I feel about happiness.

~”When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I did not understand the assignment, I told them they did not understand life.”

~”I think we like to complicate things when it is really quite simple; find what it is that makes you happy and who it is that makes you happy ad you are set. promise. “

~”We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

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Our New HEALing House

It has been a long time coming and after four years of renting the HEALing House we have finally purchased a home of our very own! The programs and outreach at the house are a huge success and provide over 100 services to moms and their families each month.

I am so excited about this growth step for HEAL and not only do we have a larger space to grow our programs and our mortgage payment is actually lower then our rent payment was. This means we will have even more money to put into HEALing House programs!

I am in awe of the number of volunteers and hours that have gone into creating this Habitat for HEAL.  One of our moms said it best in a thank you to us:

“You all have really given me some hope that there is a rainbow at the end of my storm.” – Pam

We look forward to seeing our HEAL families and supporters at our new home!

To see pictures of the new house visit our photo gallery page.

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It’s Time for Tea!

It has been a festive spring for HEAL while we celebrated our 4th Annual Fairytale Tea which is one of our best attended fundraisers.  We also hosted a Mommy and Me Tea for the HEAL moms and children at the HEALing House.  One of our moms said that she loved how our volunteers treated all of the guests at the Mommy and Me Tea like queens.  That personally makes me so happy to hear because it is the mission of the HEALing House to improve the quality of life for mothers and their families as they deal with the challenges of cancer.  For a short time that we gather you can see the stress just melt away while it is replaced with smiles and laughter. The moms also enjoyed beautiful music compliments of Joyce Buekers of The Harp Foundation.

A highlight for me this year at the Fairytale Tea was announcing three students to receive the Laura Mylonas Scholarship.  The 1st place winner this year was Marios Mylonas.  He is a graduating Senior at Desert Mountain High School and happens to be the son of Laura for whom HEAL named the Scholarship Fund.  It was very touching that Marios was selected for his hard work in school and baseball as well as his moving application and essay.  He speaks of how watching his mother through her cancer recovery and ultimately losing her battle made him desire to be a more positive person, more like his mom.

He could not attend the Tea because he was Captain of the DMHS Baseball Team and they were in the play offs, he also had to get ready for Senior prom that same night.  I am sure his mother must be very proud to see the wonderful young man he has become and living life to the fullest. HEAL is very honored to help Marios in the next chapter of his life with a $2,000 Scholarship that came from fund raising efforts.

The Fairytale Tea was a huge success and Licensed to Bling did an amazing job of bringing out fun new styles for the fashion show which featured HEAL moms and their daughters as models. The competition is quite fierce and our table hostesses did an outstanding job decorating their tables. Denise Lewandowski’s Mad Hatter Table won “Best in Show”  and Ruthie Cohen’s 101 Dalmatians Table won the table that best coordinated to their theme.  Colleen Katz and her 3 Little Pig table won a catered tea for their table guests for being the table which raised the most money for HEAL for the 2nd year in a row.  Due to the efforts of 270 guests we now have $20,000 to put towards our mission of support for Arizona mothers with cancer.

(Pictured top right is Gracie Daniels, Lauren Daniels, tea table guest Lindsey who donated money from her Bat Mitzvah for her seat at the Fairytale Tea, and HEAL recipient Rhonda Ross. Bottom right is HEAL moms and volunteers.)

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A special SHOUT! out to some special people!

I am so grateful to Chris Thomas and Nikole Stahl for choosing HEAL to receive a portion of the proceeds from their production of SHOUT!  This was a dance musical that Chris Thomas wrote, produced and choreographed and the cast was simply amazing. They had two sold out shows on April 9, 2011 at the Mesa Arts Center and it truly was entertaining from beginning to end.

I was so inspired to watch this group of young talent and to see how you can achieve greatness when you follow your dreams and do not let obstacles and fear come in the way of your vision.

I feel this way when I think about HEAL. Sometimes we just have to forge on and follow our instincts and say “yes”. I am glad I did and I have great joy in knowing that nearly 500 mothers recovering from cancer have had some relief from what was just an idea that became a true labor of love from the entire community.

Pictured from left to right:  HEAL founder Lauren Daniels, SHOUT! cast member Jared Johnson, Kayli Daniels, SHOUT! cast member Alyssa Johnson, Sean Daniels and Gracie Daniels.

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Giving Thanks and A Happy Holiday for HEAL

I would like to first start by thanking Martha Clark of Clark Creative and April Holle of Made Better Studio for setting up our amazing new website and blog feature. Many, many hours of hard work went into this project and we are very excited with the end result!

It is certainly a festive time of year!  The holidays make us grateful in many ways and heighten our senses. I have spent the last few hectic weeks feeling very blessed and I am frequently amazed at the outpouring of generosity to our HEAL Families.  This past month we have watched so many different groups come together to make for a joyous holiday for our moms and their families. Each little piece makes such a big impact because it shows the level of care and concern of a supportive community.

Starting all the way back in the summer Connie Alman and a group of ladies hand made stockings with love for all of the children attending the Holiday Party. 70 stockings were distributed on December 18th. Mike and Marianne Mazzella scheduled a festive party for their friends and family and each of their guests brought 4 dozen cookies that were packaged up for the families to take home to enjoy. BASIS School and National Charity League, Sonoran Centennial Chapter Class of 2011 and 2012, the Mccarville and Kramer families adopted children for our Wish Upon a Star Program. One of last year’s recipients payed it forward by bringing several bags of toys for the kids.

HEAL’s Holiday party was sponsored by NAIOP Developing Leaders, Commercial Real Estate Development Association.  They had gifts for every child in attendance and a gift card for each mom. Additionally, they adopted some of the children for our Holiday outreach and supplied all of the crafts and volunteers for the party.

I arrived a bit late to the party and was overcome with emotion when I walked in and saw the party in full swing.  Families were visiting with each other, kids were playing and making crafts. Hot coco and cider was delivered to our gusts of honor, s’mores were being made and we had a special visit from a very cool, converse wearing Santa. One of our recipients summed this up best:

To everyone at HEAL!!!

My name is Gina and I was able to attend the Holiday party! I wanted to thank you all so very much from the bottom of my heart for making what has been a very unpleasent year end with such joy, love and happiness. I have never attended a party with HEAL before so didn’t really know what to expect. My babies and I had such a wonderful time!! they had a blast making the picture frames, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate. They also loved making the smores!!! My baby Aaron was at first scared of Santa but by the end took his picture with him and could not stop talking about Santa and how he loves him. Me and my kids had such a wonderful time and we thank you for such a wonderful and fun party! I havn’t even said anything about the gifts yet!!! OMG!!! I thought each of my kids would get a little gift from Santa and I was so happy for that but when I saw the bags of wrapped presents and the huge box (for baby Aaron) I just wanted to cry!!! That was such a blessing!!!! Please, please!!! let the people that adopted my family know how extremely thankful and greatful I am for all that they did to make my babies Christmas so very special!!! I hid most of the gifts and put a few under the tree and they are so excited about those and don’t even know about the hidden ones. Thank you all again so very much for blessing me and my babies with all that you have done and did! We almost didn’t make it out there due to car issues but I am so glad we were able to borrow a car and go to the party. after seeing how much fun it was, it would’ve been sad if they couldn’t have been there to enjoy everything and your Santa helped Aaron with his fear of Santa. He loves Santa now!! LOL!!! It’s great!!  With so much love and gratitude, thank you all soooo much from my family, Gina, Gudelia, Andrew, Gia, Martin & Aaron!!!

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