Green Valley News Article

Hundreds of toy cars, planes, puzzles, hobby horses and more, all handmade by Quail Creek Woodcrafters Club volunteers, will head north soon to young patients at Tucson Medical Center.

Eight members have been working for months cutting out and sanding the items, painting some and leaving others unfinished, to brighten a child’s day.

They’re working on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit partner with TMC since 1984, which supports the center’s Child Life program to help provide a toy for all patients up to age 18. Painted toys are given to short-term patients; unfinished ones go to help keep longer-term patients and those in rehab busy with their own painting, club member Sam Densler said. Some patients stay only a day, others more than a month, Child Life supervisor Heather Roberts said.

All toys, donations and funds raised for the CMN Tucson partnership stay in Southern Arizona. They are used to purchase life-saving medical equipment and provide health services for TMC patients.

On Wednesday, there were 25 patients on TMC’s pediatric unit, although numbers can range to about 60, Roberts said. To help pay for its program needs, Child Life requests grants from the TMC Foundation, which receives network funds, to provide such services as diabetes education, project materials to to help keep patients occupied, and sometimes work to make a treatment room more child-friendly, she said. The department uses about $30,000 yearly for such expenses.

Overall network funding is much greater, as other departments also submit requests, she noted. CMN raises funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals nationally, and since 1983, has raised more than $5 billion. TMC has received more than $16.5 million.

“We have to find ways to keep kids comfortable, their stays more like home, less medical, Roberts said. “When we work with donors such as woodworking groups, we don’t have to pull our funds. It’s great to have community involvement.”

The Quail Creek club also makes and donates hundreds of items to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, which go to recipients in Arizona and beyond for distribution at holiday time.

By Kitty Bottemiller Oct 31, 2016