Tango, Diapers, and Community

Mimi Coomler learning to tango

Mimi Coomler learning to tango

Can you remember your first ballet or tap shoes? How thrilling it was to put on the costume for your first dance performance?

Mimi Coomler, CEO of Children’s Clinics and former director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Tucson Medical Center, has no such memories. Coomler never took dance lessons as a child nor as an adult, at least not until recently. “Dance is brand new to me – I have never taken a single lesson before this. It has been an amazing experience. Learning to tango has been an opportunity to be vulnerable and try something completely new. While it is scary, it is also exhilarating.”

In just a few short weeks Coomler steps out onto the dance floor in front of an audience of 500 and tangos to raise money for a cause close to her heart: the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona.

We asked Coomler just what it was about this cause that persuaded her to step way outside her comfort zone and commit considerable time to practice after a very full day at the clinic, “The Children’s Clinics (where I work) is so fortunate to be a Diaper Bank distribution site.  The Diaper Bank helps us fulfill our mission of supporting the special needs of children families who are dealing with complex health care needs.” By having distribution sites, like the Children’s Clinics, across southern Arizona the Diaper Bank helps close the diaper gap where those with diaper needs are. Like Children’s Clinics, the distribution sites reflect a much more complex and wider need than the general population often considers from the very young, to the medically compromised, to the elderly, the Diaper Bank serves all age groups.

The annual Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser is based on the wildly popular ABC series “Dancing with the Stars,” but Coomler swears she isn’t looking at the current series for inspiration, “I have not been watching the current season of Dancing with the Stars, but I have watched many of the tango performances from years passed on YouTube. The level of dancing can be intimidating to watch, but my teacher reminds me they practice eight hours per day.”

When she considers who is her biggest challenger among the fellow contestants, she singles out TMC Chief of Staff J. Manny Arreguin, M.D., with El Rio OB/GYN Associates. “I think Dr Arreguin is a real contender. He’s been practicing hard and I know he believes in the mission of the Diaper Bank. My strategy is to practice hard and pack sequins onto my dress to sparkle my way to the win.”

“My instructor, Miro Tymosiak, is fantastic and he corrects me – often – as I am learning. My kids have been to a few lessons, and they think it’s hilarious that I get scolded occasionally – just like they do.”

Show Mimi and the Diaper Bank your support with a vote for Mimi and Miro. Each vote costs just $10 and along with the prestige it brings to the winning dance couple, the Diaper Bank is able to distribute $30 worth of incontinence supplies to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Tucson Medical Center is the proud title sponsor of the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona’s Dancing With Our Stars.

 

 

TMC’s Michael Duran, TMC Foundation vice president, follows in the dance steps of Linda Wojtowicz

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May 5 update: During Saturday’s seventh annual Dancing With Our Stars, TMC Vice President Michael Duran won both the judges’ award and the audience award for dancing the bolero. Congratulations go out to Duran and his partner, Ramona Danielle, for the fun, the fancy footwork and the support of the Southern Arizona Diaper Bank.

 

Linda Wojtowicz dancing at the 2012 DWOS.

Linda Wojtowicz dancing at the 2012 DWOS.

TMC’s Michael Duran has a hard act to follow. In 2012, former TMC Chief Operations Officer Linda Wojtowicz wowed the crowd with her foxtrot at the annual Dancing with Our Stars fund-raising event for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, coming in second place.

Last year, TMC Foundation Trustee Anne Fulton-Cavett was a big winner and crowd favorite at DWOS, Tucson’s take on the wildly popular television program. The event pairs local “stars” with professional dancers who practice their hearts out and then hit the stage to dazzle and entertain, all for the benefit of the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. Adding to the excitement is the audience’s participation in the voting process keeping everyone on the edge of their seats wondering which pair will take first place.

Duran dances bolero at this year's DWOS, benefiting the Southern Arizona Diaper Bank.

Michael Duran will dance bolero at this year’s DWOS benefiting the Southern Arizona Diaper Bank.

This year, Duran has taken up the challenge and the cause….

How did you get roped into all of this?

TMC has had a tradition of sponsoring this great event as well as offering up an executive to participate. After a few recommendations, I decided that I would take one for the team and dance for a good cause.

What dance will you be performing? What song?

I will be dancing a bolero to the Temptations’ Just My Imagination.

Why did you choose this particular dance?

I really have to give credit to my instructor, Ramona Daniel. She picked the song and did all of the choreography. She’s just an amazing instructor and thankfully very patient. For my part, I wouldn’t have known a bolero from a cha cha or a rumba. I remember though, about our fifth lesson, Ramona asked me why we were doing a bolero and I told her that I had no idea. She laughed and told me that it was one of the most difficult dances. All I could think was, “well, now you tell me.”

How much training/practice have you put in?

I started practicing back in February and I have had around 13 lessons since then.

Have you been studying Dancing with the Stars and dance videos for tips?

No. I don’t even watch Dancing with the Stars.

Have you always danced, or is this a completely new adventure for you?

My wife and daughter both danced ballet, and I have always appreciated dance immensely. But, for me, this is way, way out of my comfort zone. That being said, I have really enjoyed the challenge and the chance to be a part of such a moving cause.

Out of your fellow contestants who are you most concerned is going to dance off with the win?

I think I may have some good competition from Jenny Carrillo…I watched her practice on Saturday and she looked really good!

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, the first diaper bank in the nation, addresses a gaping hole in the social safety net by providing diapers to old, disabled and young alike. Diapers aren’t covered by food stamps and there are few resources to support the most vulnerable among us and address this little talked about need. Over the past few years the need has grown and while the Diaper Bank distributes over 600,000 diapers and incontinence supplies, the requests total over 1.5 million.

Support Duran’s effort by donating to The Diaper Bank. Add “Stuff the Box for Michael Duran” on your check or credit card donation, or vote online for him and help him take home the trophy! You can also join us at Dancing with Our Stars this Friday, May 2, by purchasing a ticket, or donate sealed packages of diapers and adult continence supplies, host a diaper drive or give to the Diaper Bank (donations of up to $200 per individual can be applied to the working poor Arizona tax credit.)

Twinkle Toes and Foxtrots – TMC’s Chief Operations Officer Steps Out into the Limelight

By day Linda Wojtowicz is the Chief Operations Officer at TMC. By night? Ginger Rogers look out!

This Friday Linda will chassé and step out on the ballroom dance floor all in the name of diapers. Diapers? Yes, diapers. Linda is one of the stars of the annual Dancing with Our Stars fundraising event for The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona.

Linda took some time out of her dance practice to answer our questions.

Have you been been secretly watching Dancing with the Stars for tips and strategy?

Well, I never saw it before. When I learned I would be dancing the foxtrot, I wanted to see what it looked like.  so I googled it and watched a program on YouTube. I then freaked out completely and never watched it again.

Wait, you’ve never really watched Dancing with the Stars? But you dance, right?

I have NEVER danced a step before, but I have been practicing like crazy and am totally into it. The lessons learned are that I can use right and left brain which is really really fun!

Whoa! So, it really is like Dancing with the Stars? Complete novices learning to dance with the professionals. Ok, let’s add a bit of healthy competition in here, out of your fellow contestants who are you most concerned is going to dance off with the win?

I am very concerned about Joseph Blair, the basketball player and his partner, who is very quick and goooood.

It takes gumption to get out there, but the cause is important. What is it about the Diaper Bank’s mission that resonates with you?

This is the first time I have been involved with Diaper Bank. I have heard lots of stories about elderly folks in need, but the stories about the kids in need really got to me. I think of my grandkids and think about what it would mean if they didn’t have this basic need met.

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, the first diaper bank in the nation, addresses a gaping hole in the social safety net by providing diapers to old, disabled and young alike. Diapers aren’t covered by food stamps and there are few resources to support the most vulnerable among us and address this little talked about need. Over the past few years the need has grown and while the Diaper Bank distributes over 600,000 diapers and incontinence supplies, the requests total over 1.5 million.

Support Linda’s effort by donating to The Diaper Bank. Add “Stuff the Box for Linda Wojtowicz” on your check or credit card donation and help her take home the trophy! You can also join us at Dancing with Our Stars this Friday by purchasing a ticket here, or donate sealed packages of diapers and adult continence supplies, host a diaper drive or give to the Diaper Bank (donations of up to $200/individual can be applied to the working poor AZ tax credit.)


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