On the surface, plastic surgery and canvas painting may seem an unexpected pairing.
But for Scottsdale-based aesthetic plastic surgeon, Andrew M. Wolin, and northern Scottsdale art studio, Carrie Curran Art Studios, it’s a partnership they hope will help raise enough money to send over 200 pediatric cancer patients, survivors and their siblings to camp this summer.
“Have a Heart for Kids” is a Valentine’s Day fundraising event Feb. 12 that is directly benefiting Tempe-based nonprofit Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation.
The evening is hosted by Wolin, medical director of the Wolin Plastic Surgery Center and MedSpa in Scottsdale and double board-certified plastic surgeon who has been practicing plastic and reconstructive surgery in Scottsdale for over 30 years.
Wolin will discuss 2019 beauty trends and the latest in skin, facial and body procedures, both non-surgical and surgical, and he will answer any plastic surgery-related questions guests may have throughout the night.
“[This event] gives people a great forum,” Wolin said. “I think this is a therapeutic thing, and by doing it through art, we can educate people on the human art and what they can do to make themselves look better. And by looking better, they can feel better.”
While the step-by-step painting class will be taught by Carrie Curran, owner of the art studio, Wolin, too, is an artist – or, at least, he was in his 20s. Now, he fuses his former passion for painting with plastic surgery.
“I call it my biological art,” he said. “It’s not just problem-solving surgically; it’s a way of looking at a problem to not just reestablish the form of what is missed, but also the beauty of what is missing.”
Tickets cost $65, or you may pay $30 to sip, socialize and forgo the painting. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to SWKCF.
SWKCF was founded in 1988 to preserve and advance the Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks programs for children who have or have had cancer, as well as their siblings.
The first Arizona Camp Sunrise camp was held in the White Mountains in 1983 with 23 cancer patients and eight staff members. It wasn't until 1988 when the Sidekicks program, made specifically for siblings of cancer patients, was introduced. The Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks programs now serve thousands of children; and retreats, teen trips and other special events are held year-round.
In 2014, the American Cancer Society pulled funding for quality-of-life programs, including camps, and reallocated camp funds into pediatric cancer research and treatment programs, as well as public policy outreach.
“This means no more of these out-of-the-box experiences for these kids,” said foundation board member Margaret Anderson, who described quality-of-life programs as essential to not only the kids they serve, but also their parents and siblings.
“When kids are involved with these programs, they’re able to manage their disease better because mentally they’re put into a place where this disease is a speed bump … instead of a death sentence,” she said.
The foundation was formed to raise money to keep the Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks programs going.
“Every dollar that we raise goes directly to getting these kids to be able to participate in camp,” Anderson said.
Because kids attend the camps free of charge, the foundation covers all costs.
This year, however, the organization hopes to raise enough money to absorb the kids who camped previously with Camp Soaring Eagle, which shut its doors last year.
Similarly, Camp Soaring Eagle held year-round, medically safe camping programs to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families.
“Last May, they sent an email out to the families saying that Camp Soaring Eagle wasn’t going to be holding camp for the summer, so all those kids had no camp,” Anderson said.
She estimates about 50 to 60 kids with cancer from Camp Soaring Eagle will attend Arizona Camp Sunrise this summer.
As the longest-running pediatric oncology camp in the state and one of the longest-running in the country, Arizona Camp Sunrise touches hundreds of lives each year, many of which have never experienced camping before.
Last year, 225 kids, including campers and siblings, were in attendance.
“I remember hearing one of [the kids] say, ‘I love going to camp because I don’t have to wear my wig there. Nobody cares,’” Anderson said. “These kids can just be normal kids, and even with limitations, they’re still accepted because everybody there knows what they’re going through.”
If You Go:
“Have a Heart”
When: Feb. 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Carrie Curran Art Studios, 8300 N. Hayden, Suite A100
Tickets: $65 to paint, $30 to sip and socialize