Last Friday night when the Sand Devils football captains walked onto the field for the game’s opening coin toss they were accompanied by two more warriors who fight their battles off the field.
Allie Hansen and Landon Cannon, who are both fighting childhood cancer, were chosen to be the game’s honorary captains as part of a fundraising effort to raise money for Allie’s Angels Foundation. This was the second year in a row that the Sand Devils football team has hosted the Allie’s Angels to help them raise money.
Area businesses and the community at large came through in a big way.
Page Lumber and the Page Dental Center each donated $200 for every touchdown the Sand Devils scored against Valley Christian Friday night. In addition, the crowd sitting in the bleachers watching the game contributed $581 during a “Miracle Minute” when Page High School Cheerleaders passed donation buckets through the crowd. Cummings and Company, Warner Insurance, National Bank of Arizona, Page Eye Center, Dr. Lord and RD’s Drive In also donated money to Allie’s Angels. All told, Allie’s Angels raised around $4,200 Friday night.
The Allie’s Angels Foundation is named after Allie Hansen who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Oct. 2016, when she was just nine years old. Allie is the daughter of C.J. and Brittany Hansen, who live here in Page.
The Hansens realized very quickly that fighting cancer comes with many challenges and difficulties beyond fighting the cancer, such as travel and lodging expenses, taking time off work and finding caregivers to watch after their other kids while they were traveling to treatments with Allie.
They were humbled by the outpouring of love and support from their family, friends, church, hospital staff, organizations and complete strangers. They called the people and organizations Allie's Angels.
As the Hansens sat in hospital waiting rooms they met other families who had children with cancer, and they discovered that most of the families were also struggling with the finances that come from caring for a child with cancer.
C. J. works at Canyonlands Medical Center in their business office. Brittany works as a nurse at Page Hospital. They have insurance, so things could have been much worse, and for the most part the Hansens are counting their blessings, said Brittany. Despite the Hansen’s own trials, setbacks and hospital bills they recognized they had it better than most, and in Sept. 2017 they started Allie’s Angels, a non-profit organization that raises money to help families who have a child fighting cancer.
“We’ve been blessed through this, so we wanted to help others,” said Brittany.
Last Friday night was the second time that the Hansens partnered with the Sand Devils football team, Page Lumber and the Page Dental Center. The first time they partnered was a year ago and Page Lumber and Page Dental, like they did this year, donated to the Hansens $200 per touchdown.
It was a game in which the Sand Devils scored ten touchdowns and the money the businesses donated to them is what allowed them to start the Allie’s Angels Foundation.
“The whole idea had been formed, but that game was really the beginning of the foundation,” said Brittany. “We will forever be grateful for Page Lumber and Page Dental and that football team that scored ten touchdowns!”
The Mission of Allie’s Angels Foundation is to raise awareness and provide support and uplifting experiences to families affected by childhood cancer.
They do that by providing financial assistance to families with children fighting cancer and uplifting experiences for the children.
Allie’s Angels gives the parents of the child with cancer $500 to help with travel and lodging costs and the child fighting cancer receives $250 to spend on something fun, said Brittany.
For cancer families with kids over four years old the child is given $500 to spend on a BFF shopping day. The child with cancer receives a $250 Visa gift card and so does their best friend.
“The fight with cancer is physically challenging and emotionally draining,” said Brittany. “We’ve found with Allie that it helps her get through the tough cancer treatments if she has something fun to look forward to.”
For Allie, her best friends Makenzie and Emily have been true angels. They help Allie through difficult times and provide a positive lift for her spirits. For this reason, the Allie's Angels Foundation provides uplifting experiences for children diagnosed with cancer that involve their best friend. It's an opportunity for happiness and strength through friendship at a difficult time.”
In addition to giving money directly to families with kids fighting cancer, Allie’s Angels has also given $1,000 worth of gas cards to the Ronald McDonald house, which they disperse to families staying at their facility, as well as $500 to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and the Ronald McDonald House, in addition to the $1,000 worth of gift cards.
The Hansens met Brandon Cannon and his family while Allie and Brandon were undergoing treatments at the same time and they discovered that their cancer journeys had several similarities.
Landon’s grandpa is a coach for Coronado High School in Mesa, Ariz. and the Hansens thought he might enjoy being involved in last Friday’s fundraiser. They were right.
“He enjoyed it immensely,” said Nathaniel Cannon, Brandon’s dad. “He especially like going onto the field for the coin-toss. It was a huge blessing for him to be involved in something like that.”
If you missed Friday night’s game and you’d still like to donate to Allie’s Angels you can still do so by going to alliesangelsfoundation.org or you can mail a check to P.O. Box 2016, Page, AZ 86040.