Can positive thinking combined with the great minds at Phoenix Children’s Hospital help knock down cancer? One teen thinks so.

Sammy Cibulka’s nightmare started with something seemingly innocuous – A small pain in his shoulder became more severe. After many tests, it was found that the then 16-year-old has a tumor in his shoulder carrying a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.

In April 2016, Sammy underwent an aggressive course of treatments at Phoenix Children’s Hospital that included radiation and chemotherapy. The treatments were tough on his body, and he was unable to attend his classes at Brophy College Preparatory, but Sammy kept a positive attitude through it all. In fact, the experience left him feeling blessed. He often remarks about how his situation could have been much worse, and he believes his positive thinking opened the door to a positive outcome. 

Though Sammy had to put his life on hold for nearly a year, he was found to have no evidence of disease in February 2017 and had his chemo port removed. His mother attributes his recovery to the health and healing at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“Phoenix Children’s is just an amazing place to me. I can’t even fathom where we would be without it. We’re so fortunate and blessed that it’s in our backyard,” said Sammy’s mom, Theresa Cibulka. “I hope the patients and families at Phoenix Children’s know they’re not alone. They’re in the best place to be.”

Sammy is only one of the up to 90 patients treated each day at the Hospital. More than 320 children and teens are newly-diagnosed with cancer at Phoenix Children’s each year–a number that continues to climb. In the United States, cancer kills more children than any other disease. One in five of those diagnosed with pediatric cancer will not win this battle. 

That’s why Phoenix Children’s is asking the community to support the fight against childhood cancer. From now through September (Childhood Cancer Awareness Month), Phoenix Children’s is calling for businesses and individuals to get involved and donate to the Time to Shine campaign. For more information on the Foundation and to find out how you can get involved in Time to Shine, visit