Stories & News

Breanna Pena’s Story told by her Dad

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“Well, They Call It London’s Run, Daddy”

That was her answer when I asked what made her run full out the last twenty or so yards. This young woman has been confined to a hospital bed and room for the last three months. Her run was more stumbling, bumbling, but she did it. She finished on her terms, not the doctors’, not her mother’s, and not mine. The day began early with a 0500 wakeup call. A departure time of 0600 followed. We arrived at London’s Run 20 degrees colder than what we left in Phoenix. Slowly, Team Breanna began to gather together. It was overwhelming to see all of the support as we stood on the trailer with the previous beneficiaries and London’s family.

I lost it as we started the 2 mile run. We ran down the opening/ home stretch and I saw all the very familiar faces cheering us on. Thank you all who showed up, physically and in spirit. We ran about a half mile and I picked a spot up ahead to slow down as my arms were already getting tired. As I neared the tree, I noticed a large poster with Brea’s cheerleading picture on it. I let out a bark (it’s a Marine thing.) It read, “Your pace, or mine.” So much for slowing down right there. I went just a little further. Along the trail other signs and pictures of our fellow beneficiaries and London reminded us of why we were there. At the last bend before the home stretch, London’s mother, Heather ran to us and hugged us. Down the home stretch, I chanted Lon-don as Brea clapped the beat. Unfortunately, I was so out of breath, that no one could understand me. Oh, well, London heard me.

Team Breanna jumped onto the course behind us and ran the last bit cheering Breanna on. When I got about twenty meters out, I pulled the wheelchair over to the side and helped Breanna up. The plan was for her to finish on her feet. I figured a walk or a slow jog. We turned and she ran for it. Her sister, Chelsea, on one side me on the other. Her legs wobbled and she zig-zagged toward the finish line, crossing to a loud applause and cheers, probably some tears.

That is when she began to feel like a celebrity with all the cameras going off. “Brea look this way.” “Can I get a picture with you.”

Unfortunately, all of the excitement and activities for the day caught up to her and we had to duck out early.

Again, thank you all for everything you have done and continue to do for my baby-girl. She makes me proud every single day.

~Rick Pena (Breanna’s Dad)

Liz Perry Story

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I can go on forever or make it short and right to the point.

How do you write a short paragraph about an organization and a group of people that are simply amazing.  In January of 2010 my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and my son’s mixed germ cell tumor had grown back for the third time in 3 years.  Both having HUGE surgeries and one going through chemo and one through radiation left me little time to do anything else.  That’s when a dear friend of mine, Chris, introduced me to Positive Impact.

They jumped in and took financial and emotional hardships and burdens off my plate, allowing me to focus on my family!  I could have called them at 1:00 in the afternoon or 4 in the morning, always there, always ready to help.  My family has been very blessed with the people that have been put in our path throughout this cancer (a despicable and disgusting word) journey and Positive Impact was nothing short of one of the miracles that happened along the way.  There are really no words to express the gratitude and appreciation I have towards PI.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you thank you!!!

What People Are Saying

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Positive Impact is an invaluable resource for our families. With economy and budget cuts you have helped families in so many ways with your monetary donations towards electric/gas bills even gas gift cards. This has allowed some relief to these families letting them focus on other concerns at bay. Thank you!

Pamela Ruzi LMSW
Pediatric Outreach Case Coordinator


I could write a novel on what Positive Impact means to me. I received a call last week from a patient who got your $500 assistance at the beginning of the year. He said that is was the one thing that kept him going when he was just about to give up hope. Positive Impact is a reliable, efficient and timely organization that provides practical help to patients when they need it most. I am truly honored to have an organization like yours in our community – thank you so much!

Jill, Mayo Clinic
Social Worker


Positive Impact has blessed so many families that I work with, because the organization doesn’t focus on only helping certain illnesses but helping anyone with an ill child.
It is very rewarding to have an organization that promptly responds to our urgent family needs. I know as a case manager, I can count on Positive Impact to meet the needs of the families I serve. Thank you for the wonderful job you all from Positive Impact do!

Roxana E. Sandoval
Case Manager
Tu Nidito “your little nest” Family and Children Services


Positive Impact has been a vital resource for the patients I serve as an oncology social worker. Many of our patients are out of work due to their illness and have trouble making ends meet. Positive Impact has been there to help our patients keep their lights on, their homes heated and to put food on the table when they would otherwise go without. Positive Impact truly makes a positive impact on the lives of our patients!

Kathleen Pickrel, LMSW
Clinical Social Worker
University Medical Center
Radiology Oncology
Tucson, AZ


When a family receives news that their child has cancer, the world as they know it stops. Unfortunately, their bills do not. In fact, their bills often increase due to unexpected medical costs, co-payments and the transportation to get their child into their appointments. These increased bills are often accompanied with a reduction in income because parents need to reduce hours, take family leave, or quit work. This combination adds a financial burden and emotional stress to a family already reeling with the news of their child’s illness. It is a blessing to have an organization like Positive Impact! Your organization provides relief for families by helping them with food, gas and utility bills. You cannot imagine the relief that families feel when they do not have to choose between making their utility payment or paying for their co-pays and for gas to take their child for chemotherapy. Thanks a million!

Rhonda Baldwin, LCSW
Pediatric Social Worker
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
Phoenix, AZ 85016

David Melchor’s Story

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Lives impacted by the foundation.

David Melchor’s Story

As a young teenager, David Melchor was given the news that he needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.  This fourteen-year-old boy who enjoyed swimming, playing football with his friends and spending time with his family was suddenly faced with the life threatening illness of leukemia.

David and the entire Melchor family had no insurance coverage at the time, and agonized over how to pay the $150,000 cost of the transplant.  Positive Impact held a 60 day fundraising campaign for David, and raised the money needed for him to receive the transplant.

David has made a full recovery from the procedure, and is back to enjoying his favorite activities.  He goes to college, works and is now married!