Children’s Miracle Network Champion – Emma Martin

Nine-year old Emma Martin is spunky! No two ways about it, this little girl has a big personality, an infectious laugh and the kindest heart. Emma is also TMC for Children’s 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Champion.

Each year Children’s Miracle Network recognizes one child in southern Arizona who embodies bravery, spirit and hope and is a champion for every child who spends time in our hospitals. We are thrilled to announce that Emma has been recognized as Southern Arizona’s champion for 2018.

While Emma was still in the womb, several of her internal organs developed and fused together, meaning she was without a crucial organ to remove waste from her body. In addition, Emma was born with only one kidney, making it even more difficult for her body to process fluids. A triplet, Emma spent an extended time in the NICU with her sisters, but faced with additional complications went home months after her sisters had left.

Over the past nine years Emma has spent months in the hospital, had over 20 surgeries to address the original congenital issues and the subsequent developments. A fungal infection caused her bladder to be removed, and she lost a majority of her colon in 2016 to a dangerous form of colitis. Emma must use a colostomy and urostomy bag for the rest of her life.

Despite years of complex surgeries and painful symptoms, Emma is joyful, kind and has a giving heart. “She will help others before herself, even her sisters,” said Emma’s mother, Shannan Martin. “She is a special and amazing person who is so positive – she lights up any room she walks into.”

Through Emma was born with rare and daunting health challenges, she keeps an enthusiastic positivity that is nothing short of inspiring – she is a true champion.

Southern Arizona communities can look forward to seeing Emma out-and-about in 2018, sharing her story and advocating for the courageous families and kids who are receiving care at TMC for Children.

You can support Emma’s efforts by contributing to TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network. Every dollar donated stays right here in Southern Arizona to support wellness programs, purchase life-saving equipment and provide vital health services to help children like Emma be as healthy as possible.

“TMC for Children has made an incredible difference for our amazing Emma,” said Martin. “We are grateful for the staff, technology and the continued services that have kept Emma alive and brought us all hope.”

Congratulations Emma and thank you for serving as the 2018 TMC for Children Champion!

Learn more about how TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network are making a difference, and how you can join the effort to provide life-saving equipment and health services for Southern Arizona children.

‘Popcorn Kid’ retiring after singlehandedly raising $51k for kids through sales

DOROTHYLongtime employee, Dorothy “Popcorn Kid” Lietha, who is retiring after 43 years, made a difference kernel by kernel.

Lietha, who has worked a variety of jobs but most recently was part of the Wellness department’s efforts in the employee gym, is probably best known for her commitment to the children of Southern Arizona.

Since the early days of TMC’s relationship with Children’s Miracle Network, Lietha has sold popcorn — first for 25 cents a bag, and now 50 cents. Those quarters have added up. The TMC Foundation estimates that she has raised more than $51,000 to benefit area children.

“Dorothy embodies the spirit of this organization because of her generosity and her deep love of this community,” said Michael Duran, vice president and chief development officer. “We can each make a profound difference just by leveraging our individual strengths and passions – and for that, Dorothy is an inspiration.”

If you’d like to honor Dorothy and her commitment to children, consider making an online gift in her name for Children’s Services via the TMC Foundation.

The Spirit of Philanthropy Lives in the Popcorn Kid

Lietha Spirit of Philanthropy

Dorothy “The Popcorn Kid” Lietha shows off the poster colleagues signed congratulating her on receiving a Spirit of Philanthropy award.

It doesn’t take the wealth of Bill Gates or Andrew Carnegie to be a philanthropist. In fact, based on the root of the word, philanthropy, which means love of man, it takes a mindset of wanting to help.

Local philanthropist Dorothy Lietha sums up her philosophy in just a few words, “I do it for the kids,” she said. “They are our future.”

Lietha is receiving a Spirit of Philanthropy Award as part of National Philanthropy Day tomorrow, Nov. 19. Each year the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southern Arizona Chapter, hosts the local event, which is a special day set aside to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – to the enrichment of our lives, our community and our world.

The TMC Foundation wanted Lietha to be recognized as a way to formally acknowledge her extraordinary leadership and vision in support of Tucson Medical Center.

Most are surprised to hear about the accomplishments of Lietha, an outgoing 40-year employee who started in Environmental Services moved to Food Service and currently works in the Wellness department as an attendant in the TMC Optimal Results gym.

She began selling popcorn in the ‘80s near the hospital’s cafeteria as a way to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network, which benefits pediatric programs and services. As the self-described “Popcorn Kid,” Lietha originally charged 25 cents a bag, but eventually raised it to 50 cents. In addition, she occasionally would ask a company or vendor for a donation that could be raffled off, including baskets, stuffed animals, gift certificates and more.

The TMC Foundation reports that Lietha has contributed more than $40,000 over the years to support CMN and TMC’s smallest patients.

“Dorothy is an inspiration to us all,” said Erika Grasse, TMC director of Children’s Miracle Network. “She shows the power of what a single person with a big heart and dedication can do to positively impact her community.”

It’s not just the movers and shakers of a community who make a difference. The dedicated efforts of one person can be an example to us all.

Tucson Medical Center hosts 11th annual Be Safe Saturday March 21

Tomas_BSS2015 Shelly_BSS2015Tucson Medical Center’s Be Safe Saturday is back and better than ever! More than 100 booths will be set up featuring community partners who are committed to the safety and wellness of children in Southern Arizona. Each booth is interactive and has a unique and powerful safety and wellness message.

Safe Kids Pima County and the Tucson Police Department will be conducting car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injuries and death for children under the age of 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, yet an estimated 85 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. Properly installed car seats reduce fatal injury by more than 70 percent for infants and by 54 percent for children through age 4.

The family-friendly event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the more than 3,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out. “The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC. Every booth is engaging. Events like Be Safe Saturday are one of many ways TMC shows it’s dedication to truly being Southern Arizona’s community hospital,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Director, Community Programs.

TMCs Be Safe Saturday
Saturday, March 21
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Car seat checks from 9 a.m. – noon)
TMC parking lot #11
Parking will be available nearby in surface lots and in the 600-space garage just to the
west of TMC’s 
Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower

The focus of this year’s event is water safety, with an emphasis also on child passenger safety and sports safety. Some of the new community partners this year include the Arizona Air National Guard, the Central Arizona Center for Therapy and Imaging Services (CACTIS) Foundation, the Desert Museum, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, LifeNet, NextCare Urgent Care, Southern AZ Rescue Association, TMC Ben’s Bells – Kind Colleagues, the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program and the Tucson Jewish Community Center. There will be lots of giveaways and free services including:

▪ Free booster seats for those who qualify
▪ Free bike helmets
▪ Free child identification fingerprinting
▪ Free concussion screenings

In Pima County last year, there were 18 water-related incidents reported. Tragically, seven of these incidents resulted in fatalities; two were adults, and five were children under age 5. Information about water safety will be offered in a fun setting that’s a real treat for Arizona kids – a beach!

 Visitors are also welcome to drop-off gently used children’s clothes
and toys to be donated to 
The Teal Saguaro, the TMC Auxiliary’s resale
boutique, which directly supports TMC.

Stepping forward: TMC Pediatric Therapies explores intensive program for children with cerebral palsy

Kelsey Musgrave

Kelsey Musgrave

Kelsey Musgrave had a minor stroke when she was born in 2012, and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 14 months old. Her mom, Sarah, enrolled her in TMC Pediatric Therapies in October 2013 where Kelsey attended physical and occupational therapy sessions once a week, oftentimes with therapist Caren Barman. Kelsey was making progress, but Barman thought she’d be a great candidate for an intensive program that was part of a research study brought to TMC by long-time Tucson pediatrician Dr. Duke Duncan who has studied cerebral palsy for much of his decades-long career.

His study aimed to see if a modified version of the inpatient therapy the Chinese provide to children with cerebral palsy would work on American children in an outpatient setting.

In China, as soon as a child is diagnosed, doctors advise the parents to admit the child in the hospital for three months. During the stay, the child receives intensive physical therapy, occupational therapy, hydrobaths with herbs, deep massage and acupuncture – all day, five days a week. In the United States, the standard of care is for a child to receive physical therapy once a week and occupational therapy once every other week.

Dr. Duncan wanted to see if more frequent, more intense therapy really was more effective, and led to better outcomes for these children. During a meeting with a group of Chinese doctors at a children’s hospital in Anhui Province, they asked him what the standard of care is for children with cerebral palsy in the United States.  After explaining, he told them, “I’m not very happy with that because I don’t see much improvement with these children.”

As Dr. Duncan asked them what they do, the Chinese doctors got huge grins on their faces. “They said, ‘come with us. We’ll show you.’” As they marched him down a huge hallway, he saw a little boy, who was around four years old and all smiles, walk out of his room using a walker. The doctors said that three months prior, the child was confined to a bed because he couldn’t walk. Dr. Duncan didn’t believe them at first. “I said, ‘come on – you’re kidding me. What did you guys do?’” said Dr. Duncan. They explained how providing services five days a week allowed the child to make the most progress.

Dr. Duncan thought to himself, “what if we could accomplish something similar – in an outpatient setting. Would it be effective?”

He teamed up with TMC Pediatric Therapies.  They approached the TMC Foundation about funding a study that would hopefully answer this question and were awarded a grant funded by the Armstrong McDonald Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network.

TMC Pediatric Therapist Caren Barman with Kelsey

TMC Pediatric Therapist
Caren Barman with Kelsey

About two dozen families, including Kelsey’s, were invited to participate in the study. The children had to be between 18 and 36 months old, and had to have mild to moderate cerebral palsy. During the intensive program, Kelsey received therapy five days a week for 12 weeks. Four days a week, she’d be at TMC Pediatric Therapies where she would receive 30 minutes of physical therapy followed by 30 minutes of occupational therapy. On the fifth day, she would receive therapy in her home. Dr. Duncan carefully followed the progress of each child. The outcomes were significant and beyond what would be expected for children typically developing with cerebral palsy.

Sarah couldn’t believe the strides her daughter made. “Just to see the progress that she made in those 12 weeks was amazing,” said Sarah. “She went from barely crawling to taking steps and walking. And she started using her right hand, which she never really did before the intensive therapy. We saw some great milestones during those 12 weeks.”

At the completion of the 12-week study, Kelsey continued to attend therapy sessions twice a week. Insurance coverage has currently forced her to now attend just once a week. “Her progress is still improving, but not as fast as it was during the intensive therapy,” said Sarah, who is a believer that more frequent, more intense therapy is effective. “We saw her make big strides in what she’s able to do day-to-day. If we could continue to come four days a week, I’d do it in a heartbeat. This study was the most amazing thing that we’ve been fortunate to be a part of, and I’m so grateful to the TMC Foundation for funding it.”

In an effort to build on the momentum of this promising research, TMC is collaborating with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, another Children’s Miracle Network hospital, for further studies about therapy for children ages 12 to 36 months with cerebral palsy. We’ll continue to post updates on when Dr. Duncan starts looking for children to participate.

Big honors for TMC speech/language pathologist Brenda Abbey

Congratulations to TMC’s pediatric outpatient speech/language pathologist Brenda Abbey! Abbey is one of 17 professionals who have been chosen as Inside Tucson Business’ 2014 Up & Comers. The publication honors professionals who are likely to achieve positions of leadership or high standing in their organizations, industries or communities. Similarly, their accomplishments, leadership and service are likely to have a significant positive effect on their organization, industry or community during the remainder of their career.

Abbey is being honored in the bio tech/medicine/healthcare category.

TMC speech/language pathologist Brenda Abbey with the Debbault triplets: Victoria, Sophia & Cecelia

TMC speech/language pathologist Brenda Abbey with the Debbault triplets:
Victoria, Sophia & Cecelia

Abbey starting working as a speech/language pathologist at TMC in June 2006 after receiving her master’s degree from the University of Arizona Speech and Hearing Sciences program. She is a lead speech/language pathologist for pediatric inpatient care, including diagnosis and treatment for premature infants, children in the newborn and pediatric ICUs, and the regular inpatient pediatric unit. She also provides evaluation and treatment of infants through school-aged children for a variety of feeding and communication disorders. “Brenda’s expertise is in educating families and making them the center of the family interdisciplinary team,” said Mary Lou Fragomeni, TMC manager of outpatient therapies and audiology.

Abbey’s latest accomplishment is the development of a newborn ICU follow-up clinic that is unique to our community. The NICU After Care program is based on her research, and addresses a specific need for Southern Arizona’s most vulnerable newborns. Abbey coordinated with TMC’s developmental specialist Julie Seidl and the TMC Foundation to secure funding from Children’s Miracle Network.

Abbey also mentors new graduates in speech/language pathology during their introductory year, leads training for all new therapists into the NICU, and has chaired Junior League philanthropic projects. In addition, Abbey was selected as a fellow in 2013 for the first class of Arizona Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disorders, for future leaders in pediatric health care.

Abbey, along with the other nominees, will be honored during a ceremony on April 10.

Congratulations, Brenda!

New TMC prevention program helps young patients get on the right track

The 12 month old who wasn’t eating solid foods.

The 18 month old who wasn’t walking and didn’t know how to play with toys.

The 2½ year old who wasn’t talking.

The 3 year old who couldn’t follow directions.

TMC speech/language pathologist Brenda Abbey with the Debbault triplets: Victoria, Sophia & Cecelia

TMC speech/language pathologist Brenda Abbey with the Debbault triplets:
Victoria, Sophia & Cecelia

Toddlers and young children like this were filling up TMC Pediatric Outpatient Therapist Brenda Abbey’s schedule. Something with their development wasn’t quite right. Their parents were concerned. These children needed help.

Like she does with all new patients, Abbey started reviewing their medical histories and was stunned when she found a common thread: Many of these kids were either born premature or spent time in the newborn intensive care unit.

“It was happening too often,” she said. “I thought to myself, ‘what is falling apart for this population, and how can we catch these developmental problems sooner rather than later so that these kids don’t need therapy?’ There had to be something better than the ‘wait and see’ approach.”

Abbey started digging. She looked closer at the records of children who spent time in the NICU – at TMC, as well as other hospitals in Southern Arizona. She reached out to her counterparts in occupational and physical therapy – how many children were they currently helping who had also been born premature or were NICU graduates?

The connection she found – was alarming.

Abbey, along with TMC Developmental Nurse Specialist Julie Seidl, knew what had to be done. Using their combined 46 years of experience, they created the NICU After Care Program. The pair works together to identify babies who are about to be discharged from the NICU and who qualify for the program. These included babies who are having a hard time feeding or had been drug exposed, as well as babies born before 35 weeks gestation. “Research shows that babies born before 35 weeks gestation are at a higher risk for having language and cognition delays later in life,” Abbey explained.

“Our program is essentially developmental follow-up,” said Seidl. “It’s not a new concept, but historically it’s been an expensive model.” Seidl cited a similar program that lost state funding a number of years ago.

“This tracking is so important, and we didn’t want any family to shy away from receiving this help because they couldn’t afford it. We knew that if we could offer this program to families free of charge, it would help improve the outcomes for these children,” explained Abbey.

The two turned to the TMC Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network for support.

“When Brenda and Julie approached the TMC Foundation about funding this program, their research painted a picture of a serious need for this population. We believe this will be a pivotal program for the development of these children,” said Erika Grasse, TMC Children’s Miracle Network Director. “We applaud the efforts of these therapists, and all TMC staff who are able to identify problems or trends when it comes to our patients, and then offer a solution. We felt compelled to do what we could to help these therapists, in turn, help these children and their families. It’s the right thing to do, and we couldn’t have funded the NICU After Care program without CMN dollars. ”

The voluntary program requires the baby to return to TMC about two weeks after discharge. Abbey and Seidl will examine the infant’s feeding and do a developmental screening. Behaviors and tendencies that may seem like “no big deal” to mom and dad can signal red flags for the child’s speech, hearing or gross motor development.

The Debbault Triplets Victoria, Sophia & Cecelia

The Debbault Triplets
Victoria, Sophia & Cecelia

“We are able to identify problems in children this young. If the child prefers to move their head to one side, for example, we’re able to diagnose torticollis, a stiff neck that results from a child having a side preference. We’re also able to tell if a baby’s head is becoming misshapen. If we are able to catch these things early and educate the parents, we may be able to get that child on a preventative track as opposed to waiting until they’re a toddler when the problem becomes much more prevalent, and the therapy track is much more complicated,” explained Seidl.

Parents are asked to bring the child back at 4-6 months of age, at the first birthday, at 18 months and finally – around the second birthday.

Four to six months of age is a big transitional time for a child’s feeding, motor and developmental skills. “At that age, I can’t tell if a child is going to have a speech and language delay later in life – but research tells me they are at higher risk. So I want to see them,” said Abbey.

The 2-year mark is also an important milestone because, as Abbey explains, premature babies should have caught up with their age-matched peers by age 2. That’s when “the playing field is leveled.”

At each visit, the NICU After Care team emphasizes education. They teach these families what to look for and help them learn what certain behaviors mean. They’ll tell them what to expect in the coming weeks and what to do if they don’t see their child doing certain things.

The two started tracking the first babies as part of this program in November 2012. Already, they’ve seen their work – and their push for prevention – pay off. “We’ve had families who need to bring their babies in once a month because of the education they’ve received rather than having to bring their child in for therapy once or even twice a week when the child is older,” said Abbey.

In November 2014, the first babies turn 2 and the team will have hard data on how this program is making a difference. Until then, the NICU After Care Team will continue to advocate for these children, and serve as a lifeline for their parents.

Booster seats, bike helmets & bugs! TMC’s 10th annual Be Safe Saturday: March 22

Tomas Shelly Tandem Bike_4c_v2TMC’s 10th annual Be Safe Saturday is back and better than ever, coming up on Saturday, March 22.  The free event is not only fun, but educational.  A sunny day with temps in the low 70’s is expected – perfect for an afternoon at TMC’s parking lot #11, where visitors have more than 100 interactive booths to choose from, each with a unique and powerful safety message.

The event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the more than 3,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out.  “The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC.  Every booth is engaging.  It’s about providing education and resources to keep kids and their families safe in their everyday lives,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Community Programs director.   

  TMC’s Be Safe Saturday
  Saturday, March 22
  9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  TMC parking lot #11
  Parking will be available nearby in surface lots and in the new 600-space garage just to the west of TMC’s Orthopaedic and Surgical tower

The family activities will educate the public about new dangers as well as ones that continue to send children to the emergency room every day.  “We use the data we get from the Arizona Department of Health Services to identify our main areas of focus,” said Thomas.  “They are consistently child passenger safety, water safety and bike/pedestrian safety.  That’s what started our initial Be Safe Saturday event a decade ago.  Each year, we try to add booths to educate parents and children alike about new dangers, as well as ones that are injuring kids, but perhaps don’t receive as much attention.  Be Safe Saturday allows us to make an impression on thousands of lives.”

Free booster seats are always a big draw.  Booster seats boost a school-age child up so that a lap and shoulder belt fits them correctly in a vehicle.  The shoulder belt should be snug across the child’s shoulder, not their neck or arm, and the lap belt should be snug on top of the child’s thighs, not against their belly.  Children must be 5 years old and at least 40 pounds in order to receive a free booster seat at Be Safe Saturday.  Remember – Arizona’s booster seat law requires children ages 7 or under who are less than 4’9” in height to be secured in a child-passenger restraint system.

Not 100 percent sure your child’s car seat is installed properly?  Safe Kids Pima County and Tucson Police Department will be conducting car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injuries and death for children under the age of 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, yet an estimated 85 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. Properly installed car seats reduce fatal injury by more than 70 percent for infants and by 54 percent for children through age 4.

The day also corresponds with National Safe Kids Day, a special day to remind families that preventable injuries are the #1 killer of kids in the U.S. and each year a million families around the world lose a child to these injuries.

Water safety will be another big focus, as Arizona is consistently right behind Florida for having the highest number of water incidents every year. In Pima County last year, there were 24 water-related incidents reported.  Tragically, six of these incidents resulted in fatalities; three were adults, and three were children under age 5.  A heartbreaking statistic that events like Be Safe Saturday hope to eliminate.  Life saving information will be offered in a fun setting that’s a real treat for Arizona kids – a beach!

Kids love bugs, right?  There will be a bug booth hosted by TMC’s own Desert Kids Safety program.  Kids and families will identify Tucson bugs and which ones to watch out for. 

You’d be amazed how much a bottle of cleaning solution looks like a sports drink, or how similar vitamins and gummy candies look.  67,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms every year after ingesting something that should have been locked up.  TMC Pharmacists will have a “poison look alike” booth to educate children and caregivers.  Would your child pass the test?

You can also have your child fingerprinted and receive a free child identification kit, as well as information about the Marketplace Healthcare Exchange.

We hope to see you there!

Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon raises more than $250,000!

Thank you  Southern Arizona!

Thank you
Southern Arizona!

The 10th annual Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon for TMC for Children has wrapped up! 

We couldn’t have done it without you, Southern Arizona!  Thank you to the folks at 949 MIXfm, including Bobby Rich, Mrs. Grant and Greg Curtis.  They powered on for two solid days, broadcasting live from the lobby of our Pediatric Emergency Department to help us raise $250,360 for local children. 
Every penny stays here in our community, providing life-saving equipment and therapy to children who depend on it.  Also, big thanks to MIXfm listeners who called in pledges and Children’s Miracle Network sponsors who made this year’s Radiothon such a success. 
We appreciate all the families who came in and shared their stories on the air, as well as the countless volunteers who answered phones, and the incredible amount of people who worked behind the scenes to make this possible.
If you didn’t get a chance to donate, there’s still time to help the children of Southern Arizona by clicking here
Remember – 100% of the proceeds stay right here in Southern Arizona at TMC for Children.

Excitement is building for Be Safe Saturday: March 23

An estimated 13,000 people are expected to pour into TMC’s Parking Lot 11 for the 9th annual Be Safe Saturday  this Saturday, March 23.  Parking will be available nearby in surface lots and in the new 600-space garage next to the soon-to-open Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower.

The event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the 4,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out.  Be Safe Saturday  will feature approximately 100 interactive booths – all with a different message.

Turtle_Pic“The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC.  Every booth is engaging.  It’s about providing education and resources to keep kids and their families safe in their everyday lives,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Community Programs Director.

There will be information on martial arts for kids, a jumping castle, a climbing wall,  even a corral set up to reinforce safety practices around horses.  With warmer months ahead, the Kohl’s Cares Vest It Up! program can help parents track down free swim lessons for their kids.  Tucson’s new soccer team, FS Tucson, will be there, and as an added bonus, Tucson Food Truck Roundup will feature gourmet food for purchase from funky mobile kitchens.

Be Safe Saturday
Sat., March 23
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
TMC Parking Lot #11

Costco Wraps Up Children’s Miracle Network Campaign

Southern Arizona Costco stores raised more than $102,000 during this year’s campaign for to benefit Children’s Miracle Network.

With every dollar raised in Southern Arizona staying here to benefit local programs for the littlest and most vulnerable among us, the resources help provide life-saving equipment and vital health services for children served at TMC for Children.

Tucson Medical Center has been part of Children’s Miracle Network for nearly 30 years.

“As the biggest warehouse club in the country, Costco’s compassion is matched only by the size of its warehouses,” said Erika Grasse, the director of Children’s Miracle Network. In May, Costco participates in a month-long miracle balloon campaign at all of its warehouses in the United States and Canada, as well as in other creative fundraising efforts, such as an annual tea, shown here.

“We are grateful for the dedication Costco employees showed, as well as for the generosity of its members in supporting our efforts to care for children,” she said.

Headquartered near Seattle, Costco Wholesale has raised more than $137 million for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals since becoming a sponsor in 1988.

This year’s gift will help support the Block By Block, Miracles Happen capital campaign, which funded a $12.5 million renovation and expansion of TMC for Children that included private rooms, state-of-the-art equipment and a friendly environment for kids.

Vonnie Steed, the regional marketing manager for Costco, said the company supports the mission of children’s hospitals.

“We are all touched by what they do and what they offer families,” Steed said, noting hospitals provide a safety net for families most in need.

“Our employees have really embraced it and every year, we just keep doing better and better. It just goes to show what you can accomplish if you’re passionate about something,” she said.

92.9 The Mountain is Covered with Miracles

We wrapped up our three-day Radiothon with Jennie & Chris of 92.9 The Mountain with pledges and donations of $207,811.08 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Baby Ryan blows a kiss

(Photo: Baby Ryan blows a kiss to thank all of the people who made miracles happen this week.)

Marylou Fragomeni, manager, pediatric therapies, thanked Jennie and Chris and all of the people who allow her to care for the children of Southern Arizona. Her team cares for children everyday, but they couldn’t do it without the support of the people who donated this week.

You heard the CMN Radiothon live over 92.9 The Mountain from the lobby outside TMC’s Pediatric Emergency Department, starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, through this afternoon. We laughed, we cried, we have been inspired by the strength of families facing extraordinary challenges.

Children emptied their piggybanks, employees dug deep to give, 92.9 The Mountain listeners called in donations, local businesses stepped up. And, Jim Click extended everyone’s donation by matching donations up to $25,000.

So many individuals, organizations and businesses volunteered to answer phone calls and collect donations – and thanks to them and our generous community, TMC’s children’s programs will continue to thrive.

From your social media team, thank you for your engagement. Thank you for making miracles happen!

Supporters can continue to donate, by contacting the TMC Foundation at 324-5982 or


TMC’s CEO Judy Rich invites you to support CMN

Tucson Medical Center CEO Judy Rich kicks off the Children’s Miracle Network 92.9 Mountain of Miracles Radiothon.

Devoted employee raises more than $30K for CMN, a quarter or two at a time

Dorothy Leitha has been part of TMC for 37 years.

Not only has she been a vital member of the organization, starting off as a housekeeper and moving over to Food Service, she has contributed significantly to Children’s Miracle Network since its inception.

For more than 25 years, in the months leading up to the annual telethon, Dorothy has sold bags of popcorn to TMC staff and donated all of the proceeds to CMN.

Her total popcorn sales, along with a few raffles and now some Dairy Queen Dilly bar sales, has brought in some $30,000 for Tucson’s children. At 25 cents a bag, that’s more than a few pecks of popped corn. And only recently was she convinced to bump up the price to 50 cents.

Her dedication to the children of Tucson, metered out bag by bag, shows how philanthropy can make a big difference at any level of giving.

Dorothy shows that you don’t have to wealthy or powerful to be a philanthropist. Indeed, it’s the effort and the commitment of people like Dorothy that can remind us of the literal definition of philanthropy – the love of mankind.

Dorothy “The Popcorn Kid” Lietha raises more than $2,300

What is Children’s Miracle Network?

Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for, and awareness of, children’s hospitals across the country. Since its founding in 1983, Children’s Miracle Network to date has raised more than $3.4 billion in support of these hospitals.

This national charitable effort is unique in that 100 percent of the money raised will stay in the local community to support its own children’s hospital, which means Tucson Medical Center receives all of the funds raised in Southern Arizona.

Tucson Medical Center has been a part of Children’s Miracle Network since 1984, raising more than $11 million for the TMC Foundation Children’s Fund to benefit local programs for infants and children.

Money raised in Southern Arizona stays here to support wellness programs, purchase life-saving medical equipment and provide health services for children at Tucson Medical Center. To learn more about supporting TMC’s Children’s Miracle Network, please contact us at (520) 324-1141.

Tune to 92.9 The Mountain Aug. 24-26 for CMN Radiothon

Join 92.9 The Mountain Aug. 24-26 for a live three-day broadcast from outside the TMC Pediatric Emergency Department. Jennie & Chris’s Mountain of Miracles Radiothon will support TMC children’s programs and the Block by Block, Miracles Happen campaign for the new TMC for Children unit. The final phase of construction is done, and all 44 beautiful private rooms are now open. The TMC Foundation, 324-5982, has Radiothon volunteer opportunities available for groups and individuals. Every dollar raised for Children’s Miracle Network stays right here in Tucson to support TMC for Children.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461