Tag Archives: brain surgery

Rally for Riley Golf Tournament

Riley Gillam.

Riley Gillam was a healthy, happy 3-year-old. Then, one day, out of the blue, she developed an unusual headache. Her parents took her in to see the doctor, who ordered a CT scan. That is when Riley’s family learned that a mass had been forming in Riley’s brain.

Two days later, Riley underwent brain surgery. Her family feared the risk of complications and deficits that might result from the operation. The doctors learned that Riley had a rare and aggressive form of cancer, one that affects only about three people in every million, and it was rapidly increasing in size. Chemotherapy and other long-term treatments began immediately.

Since that time, Riley has endured several surgeries and horrible side effects including fevers and vomiting, rashes and infections and loss of hair, bowel control, balance and coordination. Her parents struggled to balance their jobs, care for their other 1-year-old child and time at the hospital with Riley. At least one parent was with her each night during the 27 days she was in the hospital.

The family will now be moving to Houston, Tex., so that Riley can receive special radiation care at MD Anderson Hospital.

To help Riley’s family meet their daughter’s ongoing treatment costs, a golf tournament will be held for her benefit on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club in Cave Creek.

The fundraiser will include prizes, entertainment and dinner following the afternoon golf tournament. Those who do not wish to participate in the golf tournament are welcome to attend the dinner portion of the event at a cost of $30.

For details about the event and how to participate, call 480-600-8248 or email mikeh@dovevalleyranch.com. — Sadie Smeck

Volunteer opportunities for health-minded teens and young adults

Cardon Childrens Compass volunteers check a "patient."

The Cardon Children’s Medical Center volunteer program for ages 18 to 22 is accepting applications for the 2011-12 class.

The nine-month Cardon Compass Program requires 40 hours of volunteer work representing Cardon Children’s at public events and experiences within the hospital. Each Compass class also chooses a special service project to leave a legacy at Cardon Children’s, the Valley’s newest children’s hospital.

The 2010-11 class participated in events including Shape Up, Zoolights, the Cardon Children’s First Birthday celebration and more. Volunteers also spent time with health professionals during career shadowing experiences and seminars.

“I had no idea I’d ever be interested in brain surgery,” says volunteer Brittany Ebbing, 19, a sophomore at ASU who wants to become a pediatrician. “But after spending four hours with neurosurgeon Scott Elton, M.D., I was definitely open to the idea.”

To learn more about the Cardon Compass Program or to submit an application, visit bannerhealth.com/cardonchildrens and look under “Ways to Give.” Applications are due June 15 and orientation begins in August. Space is limited, and applicants must participate in a group interview, maintain good grades and submit two letters of recommendation.

Helping moms live Happily Ever After

The Happily Ever After League (HEAL), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide financial support to moms during their recovery from cancer, is recruiting teen volunteers to participate in a  new youth service community group.

Ambassadors in HEALing will act on behalf of the organization, spreading the word about its mission while gaining valuable real-world experience. The nine-month program will teach high school students about community leadership in the areas of event planning and execution, grant writing, outreach and fundraising. Students will have the opportunity to earn community service hours and participate on committees while building skills for college and the workplace.

Students interested in interviewing for this year’s program must be an incoming freshmen through seniors in high school. For more information or to download an application visit happilyeverafterleague.org.