LYNNWOOD — Weekly trips to Children’s Hospital weren’t part of the Judd family’s summer vacation plans.
Not until four weeks ago.
That’s when doctors diagnosed 7-year-old Kelsey Judd with leukemia and the Judds were introduced to a child life specialist.
At the time, Lisa Judd had never heard of child life specialists and had no idea what their job entailed. Now, she can’t imagine her daughter continuing her treatment without Nancy, Roseanne and the other child life specialists they’ve met at Children’s.
“It’s such an awesome service they provide not only to the kids, but to the parents as well,” Judd told the crowd at the fourth annual Jamie Moyer Invitational Bowling Tournament July 26 at Brunswick Majestic Lanes.
For the second year in a row, proceeds from the charity bowling showcase will benefit Child Life programs affiliated with Children’s Hospital, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The event raised more than $210,000 for The Moyer Foundation through corporate donations, lane sponsorships and live and silent auctions of various sports memorabilia, dining and travel packages.
Moyer was joined by Bret Boone, Mike Cameron, Mark McLemore, John Olerud, Joel Pineiro and several more of his Seattle Mariners teammates and coaches, who spent time mingling with fans between frames, posing for pictures and autographing everything from T-shirts and baseballs to bowling pins and pop machines.
“The turnout of players demonstrates how much fun everybody has here at the bowling tournament,” said Karen Moyer, wife of the All-Star pitcher. “And how much they believe in (how) we’re trying to help others in the community. This is a pretty intimate way to get to meet the Mariners.”
Bidders went berserk over the Edgar Martinez and Ichiro Suzuki packages, which included autographed jerseys, baseballs and bats. Both packages brought in more than $3,000.
More than 150 items were auctioned off, mostly an array of jerseys and gear signed by some of baseball’s best.
“We’ve really had a lot of support from Major League Baseball,” Moyer said. “Jamie’s been around long enough that people respect him. And they’re learning about The Moyer Foundation and what we’re trying to do. Giving up an autographed bat might not seem like a big deal to them, but it’s huge.”
Since its inception in July 2000, The Moyer Foundation has donated nearly $3 million to more than 100 organizations. A large chunk of those donations have come from the bowling tournaments.
The first invitational raised $45,000 for LifeCenter Northwest’s organ tissue donation media campaign and the 2001 tournament generated $175,000 that went toward establishing Camp Erin, a bereavement camp for children.
This September, Providence Hospice of Snohomish County will host the second annual Camp Erin and the first King County Camp Erin will be held this spring.
“I think what’s cool about The Moyer Foundation is that we’re always supporting different programs people don’t necessarily know about,” said Moyer, who gave birth to the couple’s fifth child, McCabe, on Monday.
Last year’s bowling tournament generated a record $250,000 for Child Life, a discipline of professionals who help ease a child’s fear while dealing with cancer and other life-threatening situations.
Child life specialists aren’t physicians or nurses. They don’t diagnose or perform medical procedures. But their responsibilities are just as important, particularly in a child’s eyes.
They’re in charge of figuring out ways to make treatment less traumatic for patients and parents.
“Child Life is another way to help a patient,” Moyer said. “Instead of funding the research for the doctors, you’re physically helping the patient get through the experience they’re (facing).”
Certified child life specialists help families cope by explaining examinations and procedures with child- and parent-friendly terminology and employing distraction or “medical play” techniques that prepare young patients for treatment.
For instance, Judd described how child life specialists used a doll to teach Kelsey how an IV works. Deep breathing exercises, music and video games are also used to calm a patient’s anxieties.
During her outpatient chemotherapy appointments, Kelsey passes the time with child life specialists shopping for hats online, laying out the groundwork for a Web page she wants to design – “Kelsey’s really jazzed about that,” Judd emphasizes – and talking about one of her all-time favorite interests: bugs.
Judd, who works in the human services department at Edmonds Community College, likened the child life specialists to family members. She’s been encouraging her colleagues to look into bringing Child Life-related curriculum to EdCC.
“I told them, ‘We need to start a program like that. We need to train people to do this,’” Judd said. “The support they give Kelsey is amazing.”For more information about The Moyer Foundation, visit www.moyerfoundation.org.