‘Child Life Event’ to Raise Funds for Child Life Specialist Program at Diamond Children’s

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 6:00pm
TUCSON, Ariz. – The “Child Life Event” at Tucson Country Club hopes to raise $44,000 to expand the Child Life Specialist Program at The University of Arizona Medical Center – Diamond Children’s.
The event is scheduled Friday, March 23, at 6 p.m.
“Child life specialists are vital in the overall well-being of a child who has been diagnosed with a disease or must undergo a procedure that might be frightening or painful,” says Chris Maloney, MD, UA clinical associate professor and owner of Maloney Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Maloney organized the event when his friends Jeff and Tiana Ronstadt’s seven-year-old son, Larry, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) last December.
Soon after the diagnosis, friends and family of the Ronstadts asked how they could help. Jeff, Tiana and Larry came up with the idea to raise funds for the Child Life Specialist Program at Diamond Children’s, because they saw how much the child life specialists helped and encouraged Larry.
“The child life specialists at Diamond Children’s are great,” says Tiana. “They eased Larry’s anxiety about being hospitalized and helped him understand his illness.”
Chelsea Hodges-Caratachea, BS, CCLS, is one of the six full-time child life specialists at Diamond Children’s. “Doctors heal with scalpels and medicine and we heal with play and love,” she says. “There are so many procedures that can be scary for children. We reduce their fear and anxiety by helping them understand what will be happening.”  
On any given day at Diamond Children’s, each child life specialist may provide support and assistance for as many as 40 children throughout the hospital, the emergency department and the outpatient clinics—21 areas in all. “We really need to expand our program, so we are very grateful this event is being held to benefit us,” says Hodges-Caratachea.
“The child life specialists have been tremendously helpful,” says Tiana. “They have provided friendship, guidance and a sense of normalcy for Larry.”
Tickets still are available for the event, and are $200 each. For more information, please contact Chris Maloney at 520-298-2330 or chrismaloney@yahoo.com.