Eight-year-old Nadia Nino recently won an art contest sponsored by the UA Steele Children’s Research Center.
As a result, the El Paso, Texas, resident’s artwork will be featured by Bashas’ Grocery Stores throughout the month of December for its “Charity of the Month” program. The artwork represents the Steele Center, “the research and physician partner” of The University of Arizona Medical Center – Diamond Children’s, and a Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
Shoppers at all Bashas’ and Food City locations throughout Southern Arizona can support the Steele Center through purchasing “icons” for just $1 each.
Store employees – from bakers to managers – will wear shirts featuring Nadia’s reindeer, indicating their support of the Steele Center and children in the community.
“I love to draw, and was so happy my illustration won,” Nadia said. “Art is my favorite subject in school.”
“Bashas’ and the Basha family are so committed to the health of children in Arizona,” said Lori Stratton, director of development for the Steele Center. “They have been tremendous leaders in this area and supporters of the Steele Center for more than 10 years. We are thrilled to be partnering with them in December, a time of year when no child should be sick or suffering.”
In addition to icon sales, customers can “round up” at the register to support programs and research at the Steele Center, including its groundbreaking work to help children with pediatric cancer and type 1 diabetes.
Every three months, Nadia travels from El Paso to Tucson with her mother, Jennifer, to the Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes to receive the specialized type 1 diabetes care she needs.
“When Nadia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6, it was the scariest day of our lives,” said Jennifer Nino. “We were afraid our daughter’s childhood was over. It has been a difficult journey. It’s important to me that we raise money for research to find a cure for this horrible disease. No child should have to worry about having a seizure or going into a coma in the middle of the night because of low blood sugar.”
Nadia recently transitioned from receiving eight insulin shots per day to managing her type 1 diabetes with an insulin pump. The pump functions like a mini-computer, allowing Nadia to inject insulin through a small cannula (a type of port that is moved every two to three days) into her arms and her stomach.
Despite managing the complexities of her disease, Nadia doesn’t let diabetes slow her down. “I like to hike and walk with my dog, Shadow,” she said. “I really like making crafts and writing stories, too.”
“Nadia is such a strong little girl,” said Jennifer. “She knows how to count carbs and never complains about her shots. I hope someday research discovers a cure for diabetes so my little girl and all children with type 1 diabetes can have a normal childhood again.”