Arizona Assistance in Health Care is turning New Year’s Eve revelry into a special opportunity to help cancer-stricken families overwhelmed with medical bills. A Night of a Thousand Wishes — Arabian Nights New Year’s Eve Gala, at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, will start with the Bazaar Lounge for the cocktail hour outside before moving inside for dinner, a live auction, and dancing to a live band. With brightly colored decorations, “It will be like Aladdin walking through the downtown city,” observes Meredith McGuire, president of the organization, who says additional entertainment now being finalized will further enhance the Arabian Nights experience.
This is the second year the organization has made its fundraiser a New Year’s Eve gala, and McGuire says the event brings in a lot more donors. Last year’s sell-out crowd was 500, and the organization expects 500-600 this year, toward the goal of raising $375,000. And there’s an extra enticement: The gala includes a Kid Zone where kids from about three years old on up can enjoy video games, dress up, movies, food and even a live DJ, all under the supervision of professional staff. “On New Year’s Eve, it’s hard for people to find babysitters,” McGuire explains the impetus for the program.
- Assistance in Health Care was founded in 1983 to assist cancer patients and their family with non-medical expenses — such as rent, gas, utilities and food — when the cost of medical care creates financial hardship. The Arizona chapter was founded in 2008.
- AAHC distributes grants of $250 to families of patients who are receiving active care.
- The organization is supported by fundraisers, donations and grants. Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center covers administrative costs “so we can operate with no cost,” says Meredith McGuire, president of AAHC, but patients seeking help come from throughout the Valley and only about 25 percent are CTCA patients.
- AAHC is an all-volunteer organization. Volunteers include those who serve on the board of directors and those who help plan and produce the various fundraising activities.