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Tu Nidito’s remarkable moms




Five Tucson women will be honored Saturday at Tu Nidito Children and Family Services’ annual fundraiser, The Remarkable Celebration.

Tu Nidito, 3922 N. Mountain Ave., provides support to seriously ill children and their families.

Here are this year’s honorees, with information provided by Tu Nidito.

• BARBARA ATWOOD, a law professor at the University of Arizona who teaches civil justice courses and family law, lost her 10-year old son, Jacob, in 1996 to an undetected heart condition. She and her husband, Peter, and their son Aaron set up an annual creative arts grant for public school teachers in Jacob’s memory. They later adopted son Charles.

As a law professor, Atwood’s work focuses on giving more prominence to the child’s voice in state courts.

• TERI BUSEY’s only son, Jimmy, lost his battle with cancer at age 6. She did everything she could to make him comfortable, creating a special place in the corner of their sectional sofa with pillows, blankets and some of his favorite toys, where Jimmy could feel safe. Jimmy was comforted by his mother and his “little nest” until he died in May 1993.

Jimmy’s refuge in the corner of the family sofa inspired Tu Nidito, or “your little nest.”

Since Jimmy’s death, Busey has been involved with the Ronald McDonald House and Candlelighters of Southern Arizona, which provides support and information to children with cancer and their families.

Busey works at Tucson Medical Center hospice, where she provides a safe, comfortable place for people who are dying.

• PAULETTE GOOTTER and her husband, Joe, lost their son, Steven, on Feb. 10, 2005, to sudden cardiac death at age 42. Steven, a devoted family man, had no history of heart disease and no prior warning.

Gootter and her family and friends established the Steven M. Gootter Foundation to help fund sudden cardiac death research.

• MARGARET LARSEN and her husband, George, experienced the tragic loss of their first child, who was stillborn. Larsen dedicated her energy to children’s agencies in southern Arizona, including, Angel Charity for Children, where she has served as a general chairman and board member. After years overcoming the grief, Margaret and her husband had their first child, Olivia. Today, Margaret and Olivia volunteer for the National Charity League of Tucson, benefiting children and families.

• After GAIL LELAND’s 14-year-old son, Richard, was murdered in 1981, she recognized the need for support for parents of murdered children. She founded Parents of Murdered Children in Tucson, which later became Homicide Survivors.

Richard’s murderer has not been apprehended.

Leland’s dedication to helping other families has been a driving force behind legislative changes for victim rights in Arizona. In 2002, Leland was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer and given six months to live. The news was devastating, but she continued to persevere.

Nearly six years later, she is still battling cancer and providing support and advice to survivors of homicide. She remains dedicated to her role as a mom, grandmother and advocate for victims.











What: Tu Nidito’s Remarkable Celebration

When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Loews Ventana Canyon, 7000 N. Resort Drive

Price: $175 per person. A few tickets remain. Call for availability.

Info: 322-9155 www.tunidito.org

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