Tu Nidito Announces Remarkable Momsby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Feb. 21, 2013, under Press Releases
Tucson, AZ—February 20, 2013—Local nonprofit Tu Nidito Children & Family Services will honor five “Remarkable Moms” at its annual gala, The Remarkable Celebration, on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Each year, the Remarkable Celebration recognizes five women who have made an impact on the lives of children and families in Tucson. In their personal experiences and through their work in the community, these women exemplify Tu Nidito’s mission of creating a community of acceptance, support, and understanding surrounding children in grief.
The five women selected as the 2013 Remarkable Moms are Charlotte Harris, Josefina Iturralde, Alice Steinfeld, Celia Valenzuela, and Erin Vincent.
Tu Nidito is Southern Arizona’s resource for children and families whose lives have been impacted by serious medical conditions or death. For more information about Tu Nidito and the Remarkable Celebration, contact Tu Nidito at 322-9155 or visit tunidito.org/remarkable.
2013 Remarkable Moms
Charlotte Harris has been an icon of service and leadership in Tucson for over four decades. A mother to three and grandmother of eight, Charlotte’s philanthropic spirit has benefited many local agencies. For fifteen years, she was the Director of Development at Salpointe Catholic High School, where her initiatives ensured financial stability for generations of students. “I am always deeply touched by the generosity of others,” she says. This kindness particularly touched Charlotte after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2007 and again after the death of her husband, Mike, in 2011. “Mike was the most special person in my life,” she says. “I cannot express adequately the appreciation and dedication my family has shown me, starting with my husband and continuing today with our children.Though I miss Mike dearly, my faith continues to grow as I try to understand what master plan is in mind for me to contribute to those living on this earth.”
“I’m thankful every day – being here, waking up in the morning,” says Josefina Iturralde. Fina is Mom to three boys – Richmond, Demetrio, and Maximiliano – and has been valiantly fighting breast cancer for 6 years. They were one of the first families to attend Tu Nidito’s support group for children who have a parent diagnosed with a serious illness and have attended ever since. “I didn’t know who to talk to. The boys didn’t have an outlet at school or anywhere else,” she says. Fina is currently in treatment but doesn’t let the cancer interfere with her family’s lives. “They can’t feel sorry for themselves – they need to fight. I always tell them, the cancer situation won’t stop you from being who you want to be,” she says. Fina says the best part of being a mom is simply being loved and loving them in return. “It’s amazing to wake up in the morning and see them, to send them off to school and say, ‘I’ll see you soon.’”
“Everyone wants connection,” says Alice Steinfeld. Helping people find the connection and understanding they seek is Alice’s drive and motivation in life. A mother of two married children and three grandchildren with her husband of 37 years, Joel, Alice is a psychotherapist by profession. She also offers her talents to organizations like Dream Street Foundation, an organization that provides camping experiences for seriously ill children, and CHAI Circle, a support group for Jewish women with cancer. Alice’s father died of a heart attack when she was a teenager, and his death inspired her to lead a life of service, exemplifying his philanthropic spirit. Her mother’s death of cancer 13 years later motivated Alice to get a Masters degree in counseling. “I was by my mother’s side when she died, and the challenge of understanding all the “whys?” became my life goal,” she says. “My work reminds me of the preciousness of life and the value of being connected.”
Celia Valenzuela is a mother to three and a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. In 2010, her youngest was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer at 18 months. “I remembered reading that the survival rate for high risk neuroblastoma was low and hadn’t changed in 30 years,” Celia says. As a mom and a physician, Celia was Iden’s biggest advocate, doing everything possible to increase her chance at survival. Throughout Iden’s treatment, Celia and her husband, Andrew, worked tirelessly to maintain normalcy for their two older children. Happily, the family celebrated excellent MRI results in February. “It was a difficult journey, but also a beautiful one,” Celia says. “We experienced incredible acts of human kindness.” In her profession, Celia strives to provide the same level of care that her own child received, recently leaving private practice to return to academics to educate and mentor young doctors. “I am immensely privileged to participate in the development of truly amazing physicians, while still caring for patients,” she says.
When Erin Vincent was 35, she was busy owning a business with her husband John and raising four young children. That year, she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. “The minute I was told ‘you have cancer,’ it was GAME ON,” Erin says of her diagnosis. “I did not allow myself time to over think it; I was too busy.” Cancer-free for over a decade, Erin has never forgotten the love and care of the community. Many agencies have benefitted from her philanthropic spirit, most significantly, the beneficiaries of Angel Charity for Children, Inc. As General Chairman of Angel Charity in 2010, she led an effort that raised over one million dollars. “It was one of the most gratifying and humbling years in my life,” she says. Through it all – raising four children, cancer, and giving back – Erin has learned to maintain perspective. “I learned how simple life gets when faced with health issues. When life gets too chaotic… keep it simple,” she says.