Love retail? We’re looking for you!

volunteers-needed-for-the-tmc-gift-shop-and-teal-saguaroTucson Medical Center is currently recruiting retail volunteers for the TMC Gift Shop and our resale boutique, the Teal Saguaro.

Both shops support the medical services and programs through Tucson’s locally governed, not for profit community hospital.

The Teal Saguaro, which offers quality, gently used items at 5395 E. Erickson Drive, is also accepting donations. Needed items include clothing for the entire family, footwear, household items, small appliances, books and more.

All funds raised directly support TMC and its services. The Teal Saguaro also serves as a resource center for families in need, providing booster seats and bicycle helmets for children, as well as emergency clothing for patients who weren’t able to prepare for their visit.

“Whether you are looking for a way to donate to TMC or on the hunt for a great buy, both stores offer a truly unique shopping experience,” said TMC Auxiliary President Dan Bailey.

Information about volunteer work at TMC and the application to become a volunteer is found at Information about the Teal Saguaro may be found at


TMC Auxiliary presents gifts, welcomes new officers

Auxiliary Logo ProofThe TMC Auxiliary is thrilled to present gifts to TMC and announce a new installation of board of director officers! The TMC Auxiliary formed in 1949 and remains an integral part of the hospital providing volunteer and philanthropic support. TMC Auxiliary volunteers work in more than 40 areas of the hospital. In addition to giving their time, they also provide annual financial support to TMC, funding needed internal programs and projects.

The support the Auxiliary provides to TMC is truly astounding. In 2015, for example, they logged more than 78,000 hours – the equivalent of 40 full-time employees! Auxiliary volunteers made almost 1,500 heart pillows and delivered them to our cardiac patients to help them recover. They made and delivered nearly 400 walker bags and delivered them to patients in need along with almost 200 quilts for our pediatric patients and babies in the newborn intensive care unit. Additionally, they provided more than 16,000 patient-assistance visits.

On behalf of the TMC Auxiliary:

▪ Jon Schwindt presented a $50,000 check for the Joel M. Childers, M.D., Women’s Surgery Center
▪ Janet Grubbs presented a $30,000 check for breast screening services
▪ Sue Burg presented a $10,000 check for TMC’s Memory Care program
▪ Diana Bergen presented a $10,000 check for the Healing Arts program and a $4,000 check for TMC Foundation events
▪ Ginny Robbins presented a $7,500 check to provide medical massages to open heart patients
▪ Al Frizelle presented a $7,500 check to provide scholarships to patients who need Cardiac Rehab
▪ Lewis Jones presented a $6,000 check for TMC Hospice family assistance
▪ Shirley Alfano presented a $5,000 check for pediatric staff to purchase Tomas the Turtle stuffed animals for children to hold as they undergo anesthesia

IMG_4123Congratulations to the new TMC Auxiliary Officers:

▪ Dan Bailey, President
▪ Jim Kelaher, Vice President
▪ Gary Hembree, Treasurer
▪ Ginny Robbins, Parliamentarian
▪ Janet Grubbs, Volunteer Advocate
▪ Diana Bergen, Member at Large
▪ Marge Zismann, Member at Large
▪ Barbara Hammond, Member at Large
▪ Shirley Alfano, Member at Large
▪ Carole Fee, Service Coordinator
▪ Lewis Jones, Past President

TMC sincerely appreciates all of our volunteers for their time, talent and treasure!
If you are interested in joining this incredible volunteer force at TMC, please click here.

Giving back: NICU unit associate making big impact on so many lives

Mary Tisdale TMC NICU Unit Clerk and volunteer

Mary Tisdale
TMC NICU Unit Associate and volunteer

Mary Tisdale never gets tired of seeing babies leave TMC’s newborn intensive care unit – bigger, stronger and healthier than when they came in. “It’s wonderful seeing a little person who came in so small and helpless get to go home because of everyone who worked together to make his or her life better. It’s without a doubt the best part of my job,” she said. As a unit associate in TMC’s NICU for the past 23 years, Tisdale provides valuable support to clinical staff. But on Saturday mornings, she provides support to those babies in a different way – and she doesn’t earn a dime for it.

A volunteer in the NICU encouraged Tisdale to think about giving back. “She told me that they were looking for someone to volunteer at The Teal Saguaro. I thought to myself, ‘I just might like that.’ I’ve always had an interest in retail, and I love shopping, so I gave it a shot,” said Tisdale.

The Teal Saguaro is the TMC Auxiliary’s resale boutique. It’s completely run by TMC volunteers, and all funds raised directly support TMC. “I’ve seen how the funds provide life-saving equipment to NICU babies, and what great comfort that gives their parents,” Tisdale said. “I see the how this money makes programs like the NICU After Care Program possible. Volunteering is just one little way I can give back and continue to help the babies who depend on TMC for care every day.”

In 2013, The Teal Saguaro raised more than $50,000 for the hospital.

The boutique, located at 5395 E. Erickson Drive, just inside the medical park south of TMC, also serves as an easy access resource center for families in need of booster seats and bike helmets for children. And when patients need clothing due to emergency circumstances, staff can offer vouchers good at The Teal Saguaro.

Tisdale says volunteering her time here is incredibly rewarding. She’s one of 500 active volunteers who graciously give their time to TMC on a regular basis, and were honored during National Volunteer Week. On any given day, an estimated 78 volunteers are working at TMC. Last year, they logged a whopping 79,000 hours. “The amount of work our volunteers do for this hospital is truly astounding,” said Hope Thomas, TMC director of Volunteer Services. “We feel so fortunate to have a force who is dedicated to giving not only their time, but also their talents. Mary is a perfect example of someone who wholeheartedly believes in TMC’s mission – a seasoned, dedicated employee who is motivated to help the community in which she serves even when she is off the clock.”

So what’s even better than seeing NICU graduates leave TMC? Tisdale said it’s when those babies come back years later – sometimes with their own kids in tow – to thank the nurses who cared for them. “That is just the best,” laughed Tisdale. “It sure makes us feel old, but there is nothing better than knowing you were a small piece of a big impact on so many lives.”

LoveLights twinkling brightly outside Peppi’s House

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For some, the holiday season has officially arrived again, now that the LoveLight Tree has been illuminated outside Peppi’s House on the TMC campus.  The symbolic tree-lighting event is put on each year by the TMC Auxiliary as a benefit for TMC Hospice.

The Auxiliary raises money by selling “lights” on the LoveLight Tree that represent loved ones who have passed away and are being memorialized, or as a way to honor those who are still living.  Recently the tree has added gold lights, in honor of veterans and those serving in the military.

At the LoveLights tree-lighting party, more than 150 people gathered to visit outside Peppi’s House on a crisp evening while the sound of soft music played in the background.  Just after dusk – the moment everyone was waiting for as the crowd counted down from 10.  Suddenly the tree lit up while the crowd applauded.  Red, green, white, blue and gold lights glistened on the tree that was circled with beautiful poinsettias, and adorned with a giant heart.

The money raised during the sale of LoveLights and the event is still being tallied, but will all go to the emergency fund at TMC Hospice.  “This money is used for all sorts of things, like funerals for families who can’t afford to bury their loved ones, plane tickets for family members who can’t afford to come to Tucson and say goodbye, even things like utility bills and groceries for families who otherwise can’t afford it when they’re going through such a sorrowful time,” said Kelly Oursler, RN, TMC Hospice Manager.

Special thanks to TMC Auxiliary Vice President Lewis Jones for organizing this year’s event.

If you’d like to drive by and see the tree, it’s located at Peppi’s House, on the northwest end of the TMC Campus, 2715 N. Wyatt.

The LoveLights Tree will be up until the New Year.

Patient care expressed through pillows, bags, aprons and more

Mary Ann MillerTMC Auxiliary Sewing Group Service Chair

Mary Ann Miller
TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group
Service Chair

As a retired registered nurse, Mary Ann Miller is used to taking care of patients at the bedside.  A desire to “get out of the house and do something” has allowed her to continue helping patients – but in a different capacity that is equally rewarding for her.

Ten years ago, she came to TMC to interview for a spot with the TMC Auxiliary.  “They asked me if I liked to sew.  I said, ‘I love to sew.’  And that was it,” she said.

Miller joined the TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group, and eventually became the service chair.  “When I started, the group mainly made pillows and walker bags.”  As Miller got involved in other things around campus, the list of items they would produce grew and grew. 

“I’m a sucker for not being able to say no,” Miller laughed.  “People come to us with ideas of things that could be helpful for patients in the hospital, and I can’t say no.  So, we find a way to make it happen.”

An example of a walker bag made by the TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group

An example of a walker bag made by the TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group

And make it happen they do.  The sheer number of items they crank out is quite impressive.  In 2012, they made 1400 heart pillows for cardiac and chest surgery patients, almost 500 walker bags for orthopaedic patients, more than 280 bean bags to help hold tubing down for infants in the NICU, almost 50 bereavement items for Labor and Delivery, and close to 50 stuffed socks to be used as position pillows in Pediatric Therapies. 

Among the other things they make: Foley bag covers for Urology patients, crib and bassinette sheets for the NICU, neck position pillows for the NICU and Outpatient Therapy, isolette covers for the NICU, and busy aprons for dementia patients.  “These vests are really great because they give the patients something to keep their body and mind active.  They have zippers and buttons on them.  They have a little toy in them, and even a little patch of soft fabric that can remind them of their cat or dog,” Miller said.

TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group

TMC Auxiliary
Sewing Group

The group has grown to about two dozen women who meet from 7 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday in the Arizona Building.  They’re easy to find.  Just listen for the humming of the sewing machines, and laughter.

“Most of us are elderly, and the only people we will see all week – are here.  It’s a bit of a social hour,” she smiles.  “It makes me feel good that I can do something for other people, while doing what I love to do.”

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