The story behind this Sundt Foundation grant may make you a little teary, but it’s worth it. Read on. A recent $1,000 grant outfitted pediatric cancer patients in Tucson with something hard to find: fun, fashionable T-shirts that can accommodate all the poking and prodding that go along with cancer treatment. The money funded the purchase of 40 “ComfyCozy’s,” as the shirts are called, for patients at Diamond Children’s at the University of Arizona Medical Center.
“Bringing the T-shirts to the children in the cancer center was a humbling experience. The kids are so amazing and brave and each one has a smile on their face,” said Joann DiRienzo, a Sundt project administrator who delivered the grant check. “They have such great attitudes and fight in them. Meeting their parents is another experience in itself. I am looking forward to starting a volunteer group with ComfyCozy’s that will visit the children’s center once a month to do special events, like spa days, ice cream socials and delivering books.”
ComfyCozy’s are brightly colored tie-dyed T-shirts designed with zippers, pockets and slits to allow access to chest-ports without exposing the patient’s body. The shirts also provide storage for IV lines while preventing tangling and pulling on the patient’s clothing.
ComfyCozy’s is the clothing line of Amanda Hope’s Rainbow Angels, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing “dignity and comfort into the harsh world of childhood cancer.” The organization was founded in 2013 in celebration of Amanda Hope, a dynamic and creative little girl from Phoenix, who passed away at the young age of 13 after a four-year battle with leukemia.
“The kids just LOVED these shirts,” said Lori Mitts, BS, CCLS, child life manager at Diamond Children’s, on the organization’s website. “The ComfyCozy T-shirts are a wonderfully creative and novel item that provides a unique benefit to our patients. We are so grateful!”
The Sundt Foundation was established in 1999 by Sundt as a way for its employee-owners to give back to the communities in which they work. In addition to funding grants every quarter, the Foundation also sponsors volunteer activities to benefit nonprofit organizations. The grant money comes primarily from contributions made by Sundt employees, which are matched dollar-for-dollar by the company.
Since its inception the Foundation has made grants totaling more than $6.4 million to hundreds of worthy organizations. Approximately 75 percent of the money goes to help disadvantaged children, with the remaining 25 percent dedicated to community issues. Employees can also earmark their donations for charitable organizations that benefit members of the military and their families.