Attendees of the third annual Armer Foundation for Kids gala on August 6 will be able to meet many of the ‘Armer Kids’ and their families who have received or are receiving help from the Ahwatukee-based nonprofit.
This year, the introduction will be through a video shot and edited by South Mountain Films, whose owners, Raphael and Susan Isaac, live in Ahwatukee.
At least nine families appear in the video that will be shown at the gala, the foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
As with many nonprofits, revenues have dropped and that means other families seeking assistance to help with their medical bills and other expenses brought on by a child’s sudden illness must be turned away.
“Unfortunately, with difficult times for everyone, our donations have slowed down. I mean, we’re in a tough position of having to turn down struggling families while their kids are struggling,” said co-founder Jennifer Armer, who with her husband Matt started the nonprofit in 2019.
The gala will be held at Ashley Castle, 1300 Price Road, Chandler from 5-10 pm and tickets can be purchased at armerfoundation.orgor at the Armer Foundation for Kids Thrift Shop at 9830 S. 51st in Ahwatukee or by calling 480-257-3254.
“Tonight is always special for us,” said Jennifer Armer. “Not only is this our biggest fundraiser of the year, but it’s also a great time for everyone to hear the inspiring stories of families helped over the years, and it shows the difference our fundraising dollars make. funds have made in the community.
“It’s always our goal to make sure no child sees their family stressed out due to a medical condition, and tonight helps us do just that.”
Armer said attending the gala will help the nonprofit’s coffers, as will additional donations on its website. ArmerFoundation.org.
“If you can’t make it, even getting the word out to friends and family about what we’re trying to do is always appreciated,” he said.
One of the first families interviewed and filmed by South Mountain Films was Ahwatukee resident Ann Trent and her 13-year-old daughter Hope.
It’s been a long road for both of them, beginning with Hope’s unexplained dizziness and headaches. Then, in the first week of December 2020, Ann Trent was told that doctors had found a mass.
His only daughter had a rare childhood brain tumor known as juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma.
She was admitted to the ICU at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and on December 8, underwent surgery to remove the tumor, received a craniotomy to access and remove the tumor, and had two plates inserted into her head.
In the year and a half since her diagnosis, Hope has undergone numerous procedures, her mother said.
“Hope has been in the MRI tube 11 times,” Susan said, “she’s had nine MRIs, one MRA, and one MRV. She is also notable in that she has received excruciating occipital nerve block injections in the back of her head, and three rounds of 31 Botox injections throughout her head and neck. Nothing has worked. Any.”
“Sadly, Hope’s latest medication to shrink her spinal fluid is not making her feel any better,” her mother continued. “At an appointment with her neurologist last week, Hope was to discontinue that medication immediately, wait a few days for it to get out of her system, and be admitted for a lumbar puncture to check her spinal fluid pressure and verify for inflammation
“If the lab results are good, he’ll start you on a high dose of migraine medication intravenously.”
Your daughter is also scheduled to see a gastroenterologist to help her get over the chronic stomach pain and nausea she has experienced in the past few months.
Ann and Hope Trent tell their story for the video and, depending on Hope’s progress, plan to attend.
Despite the ongoing health setbacks and their mental toll on mother and daughter, Trent said he wants to show his gratitude to The Armer Foundation. She says the foundation has helped her through difficult emotional and financial struggles.
“My God, it’s hard for me to put into words what The Armer Foundation means to me,” said Susan. “They have saved me from drowning in medical debt. I am a single mother living on a public teacher’s salary. I don’t get any kind of child support from her father, I teach all year long, even on weekends, just to make ends meet.
“I had to cancel so many tutoring slots because of doctor appointments or sometimes when I just needed to sit and cuddle with her when her pain was really bad,” she said.
“The Armer Foundation has allowed me to focus my time and devotion on Hope’s health and numerous appointments at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, our primary care physician, physical therapy and, soon, emotional support therapy for Hope, who had been seeing a psychologist on Zoom via PCH. , but I think she would benefit from something in person,” she said.
“If, in addition, I had to worry about paying my utilities or paying a PCH bill, I would be in a much, much worse state. I know that Jennifer Armer works days, nights and weekends to help families like mine. In fact, she also helps the families of two of my former students, one of whom tragically died of cancer last year.
“She is an invaluable member of our community. The depth and breadth of her loving care will stay with those of us who know and love her for life,” Trent continued. “My only hope is to be able to afford it.”
Multi-family filming aided by The Armer Foundation for the presentation Raphael Isaac, owner and executive producer of South Mountain Films, and his wife Susan Isaac, director of operations.
“We have been customers of The Armer Foundation Thrift Store on 51st Street for some time; we often bring clothing and household items to donate,” said Susan.
“One day when I was there, Jennifer mentioned the gala. I told him that my husband, Rafi, and I own a video production company and to let us know if he needed our help with anything. A few weeks later, she told me that they would love to make a video of some of the families the Armer Foundation has worked with to show at the gala. She sent me a list of families who wanted to be interviewed and we started working”.
Susan emphasized, “Thanks to the generosity of The Armer Foundation, these families are able to be in the hospital or at home with their dependent children instead of working second and third jobs to pay for their deductibles, medical equipment or other expensive necessities, including training for a seizure dog.
“We have yet to come out of an interview dry-eyed.”