Diamond Children’s Child Life Team makes life better for 16-year-old with rare disorder

Grace, 16, has an unknown form of anemia with no known cure. She struggles with other health issues, including very rare and unusually large non-cancerous tumors in her legs and feet that put her in a wheelchair.

Grace visits the Diamond Children’s Cancer Center in Tucson every two to three weeks to get her hemoglobin checked to determine whether she needs a blood transfusion. The transfusions are a regular part of her ongoing treatment.

In addition to her mother and father, Grace says her Diamond Children’s nurse, Taryn, is among the three adults she looks up to most in life. Grace knows all of the nurses at Diamond Children’s but has come to trust Taryn for her care and sensitivity in preparing Grace for transfusions.

When a transfusion is needed, Grace will spend hours at the hospital. As someone who has been in and out of the hospital for years, she knows how important the Child Life team is for everyone who walks through those doors.

“We adore the Child Life team; Melissa, Dani, and Francis have been there for Grace, visit after visit, year after year, and even throw lovely birthday parties for her,” says Grace’s mother, Christine. “It is so painful to see your child and other children go through devastating illness, but we are grateful to Diamond Children’s for all of her care. Without them, she would not still be here with us. They are the true superheroes."

Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center provides pediatric care for children, from newborns to teens. It is the only pediatric medical facility in Arizona connected to an academic research facility — the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center — where physician-scientists provide access to groundbreaking science and research to advance children’s health.

Children like Grace – and so many others – will benefit from the Banner – University Medicine El Tour de Tucson, as Diamond Children’s is the grateful beneficiary of this year’s event to be held on November 20.

El Tour de Tucson

Held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving and sponsored by Banner - University Medicine, El Tour is a fundraising adventure ride attracting over 6,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities from throughout the United States and worldwide. Participants are beginners, intermediate, advanced, and professional cyclists riding 100% human powered bicycles.

Banner impacts the lives of thousands on a day-to-day basis and will help do its part in the cycling world this November, when riders from all over descend on Tucson and Southern Arizona for one of the top 10 best bicycling events in Arizona and the United States. Proceeds benefit a wide range of specialty care programs, technological innovations, and state-of-the-art medical facilities available to patients from birth through end of life at Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson.

Register to Ride

To register to ride, please visit https://www.bikereg.com/el-tour-de-tucson. Be sure to select “Diamond Children’s Medical Center - Fundraiser”. Not a cyclist? Not a problem. You can still support the cause by creating or joining a fundraising team.