Trips to a water resort, catching the big trout in a tournament, playing laser tag or heading to a baseball game are dreams that have become reality for cancer-afflicted children the Sunshine Kids assists across the United States.
The children's joy is provided by people they will never meet, who have donated to the cause, in this instance, the people of the Rim Country at a dance and silent auction June 14.
Event chair and Prudential real estate agent, Cliff Potts, has conversed with Sunshine Kids spokespersons on several occasions.
"It means a lot to them to be able to go to a fun event when they are going through such a horrendous time during cancer treatments," Potts said.
He recalled the fright he felt at age 12 knowing he would be put to sleep to have his tonsils removed and said he can't imagine what it's like for a child to be in a hospital for weeks and months at a time.
"I have never been able to sit down with kids ranging in ages from 13 to 17 and be able to all connect in such a way that it didn't matter what we looked like or what we'd been through, we were all on the same level and loved each other for it," Ryan Caron, 2007 national spokeskid for Sunshine Kids said.
"I am proud to say I am an SSKid and that we have battled cancer and conquered (it). I want people to see that these trips and these activities really do help. These trips can take a kid that has given up -- that can't go any further and give him hope and love," he added.
Prudential has supported Sunshine Kids since 1993, but this is just the fifth annual dance and auction.
Suzanne and Dale Knighton, who form the duo Whitewater, have donated money as well as their time to set people's toes a tappin' and brought couples to the dance floor since the beginning of the event.
"It's bad enough when adults have to face cancer, but when it happens to a child that's just crazy. I think this is a worthy cause so these children have something to make their lives brighter," Suzanne Knighton said.
Merchants who have donated silent auction items for the June 14 dance include:
The Mazatzal Hotel and Casino has donated services, furnishings and a cash donation; Wells Fargo made a generous cash donation; Armor-Deck donated 400 square feet of stamped concrete; and El Rancho Mexican Restaurant has donated a week in Maui, Hawaii.
"The Mazatzal Casino has been nothing short of fantastic as a host," Potts said.
Other major donations have been made by The Rim Club/Chaparral Pines, Payson Concrete and Materials and Payson Jewelers, with more donations arriving daily.
Two raffle items with tickets on sale now include a junior quad and transport trailer donated by Bradshaw Mountain Enterprises and Tamra Ulmer of Arizona Resource Realty, and a four-night stay at a 4,000-square-foot vacation villa with four bedroom suites and daily maid and cooking services in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico donated by Maria Drury a Realtor with Prudential Arizona Properties. Raffle tickets for the quad and transport trailer are $20 each. The villa tickets are $100 each and limited to 75 sales. Tickets may be purchased at the Prudential Arizona Properties sales office at 609 S. Beeline Highway in Payson, or in Pine at 3640 Highway 87.
Raffle tickets for the week in Maui and the 400 square feet of stamped concrete will be sold the night of the event.
Admission tickets are $10 each and the event is open to the public over 21 years of age. Admission and raffle tickets will also be available at the door of the event on June 14.