Cardinals team up with 'HopeKids' to help struggling families

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- It's easy to celebrate when an athlete does something amazing on the field. But the Cardinals have also had an incredible impact off the field, in our community.

For years, the Cardinals have teamed up with a non-profit valley organization called "HopeKids." And Monday night, the team hosted 50 families who are struggling through some really tough times.

Young Ruby is one of those being helped. She was discovered in a corner of an orphanage in Kenya when she was a year old and weighed just six pounds. Four years later, here she is in Glendale, Arizona.

Linny and Dwight Saunders have 12 children; seven are adopted. They have taken on a lot. But this was one of the good days, thanks to a non-profit called HopeKids, and the Arizona Cardinals. "It provides an event that they can come, look forward to and makes a memory together."

HopeKids helps make memories for these kids, many of whom have life threatening illnesses. At Monday's Cardinals game, their families got the VIP treatment, complete with autographs from the players.

That's what HopeKids is all about: creating priceless moments for families in need. "I can't, like, say it," says young Isaiah Saunders. "It's too exciting."

"It's a huge blessing because of my baby sister, Ruby," says Elizabeth Saunders. "She's just a really big blessing for our family."

Much like great athletes, the Saunders kids have grit and determination. And behind it all, two of the best possible coaches, Linny and Dwight, who have shown them love, strength, and the will, against all odds, to win.

HopeKids provides ongoing events and activities, and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition.

The organization has an ongoing program of highly-anticipated events and activities to which all the children and their families in our program are invited. This helps restore fun, excitement and hope to what can be a difficult and uncertain future.

For more information, visit www.hopekids.org.