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Sick kids cruise hospital in Wagon


Photo
DJAMILA NOELLE GROSSMAN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Lizzie Bell pulls around her cousin Danielle Bell in the new MedWagon at University Medical Center yesterday. The wagon was donated to UMC by the "Lizzie's Loot" program, named after Lizzie Bell, to ease transport of toddlers and small children in the hospital.
By Djamila Noelle Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, April 1, 2005
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Infants and toddlers in the pediatric wing at University Medical Center might have fun riding the new MedWagon that can ease parents' lives by giving them the opportunity to pull their sick loved ones wherever they like.

The wagon was donated to the hospital yesterday as a part of the "Lizzie's Loot" campaign, which has donated 10 wagons to hospitals nationwide.

Lizzie Bell, an 11-year-old girl, was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan anemia, one of the most rare bone marrow failure diseases in the world, when she was 7 months old, said Kathy Flores Bell, her mother.

As Lizzie Bell recovered, her parents started buying toys and movies that were missing from the hospital, which were crucial for the children's well-being, Kathy Bell said.

Those important details often vanish due to budget cuts, said Kathy Bell, a member of the John P. Bell family foundation that donates to "those who continuously serve others by forgetting self."

Kathy Bell said she wanted to buy MedWagons for a long time and finally found them on the Internet.

Lizzie Bell practically lived at UMC for the first three years of her life, and her parents used a similar wagon that was important to her recovery, Kathy Bell said.

Kathy Bell said she started the "Lizzie's Loot" project in 2003 to collect money to donate small, but important things to hospitals children's wings.

Kathy Bell calls it a "curious little project that seemed to hit the nerve" with children in hospitals who are chronically ill.

The project has been a big success and there have been various possibilities to support hospitals, Bell said.

Joanne Beaufait, resident of the Voyager RV resort in Tucson, started organizing events in order to collect money for "Lizzie's Loot" in 2003, she said.

Beaufait said she met Lizzie at a blood drive and wanted to help raise money after she found out about "Lizzie's Loot."

Beaufait said she started asking her neighbors at the RV resort to donate money and organized events such as a kid's ball and an upcoming golf tournament.

"All I wanted from everyone was a dollar, but I've gotten a lot more," Beaufait said.

So far, Beaufait said she has collected enough money in donations to purchase 10 wagons, which cost $400 each.

"They're pricey but they're worth it," Beaufait said. "This isn't stopping after a million wagons, I'll just keep doing it."

Lisa Ouellette, a registered nurse and clinical leader in a UMC children's wing, said the MedWagon will be a great help and she is thankful to receive it.

There are similar wagons in the wing now, but they cannot transport the IV pole, and parents had the pressure of pulling the wagon and carrying the pole at the same time.

Infants and babies are the first ones to use the MedWagon, Ouellette said, but the wagon will probably become very popular among all children.

Lizzie Bell said she is proud to help other children and she sometimes wants a MedWagon for her own to play with.



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