Pediatric patients from the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center and their families attended a tour of Davis-Monthan June 12.
Steele Children’s Research Center specializes in better treatments for pediatric illnesses such as Type 1 diabetes, cancer and cystic fibrosis.
The tour was hosted by the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron and its purpose was to give the children and their families a chance to get away from their daily medical ordeals by interacting with D-M personnel and equipment.
“The tour was intended to give the kids a day to be a kid free from the struggles of their illness,” said Capt. Joshua Palochak, 41st ECS weapons and tactics flight commander. “The only rule was to have fun.”
Palochak learned about Steele Children’s Research Center and their mission to combat pediatric illness after being honored by Father’s Day Council Tucson as one of 2014’s six Fathers of the Year. Father’s Day Council Tucson’s mission is to honor exceptional fathers in the community as well as raise money for Type 1 diabetes research.
“The research they are doing to find a cure for juvenile diabetes is nothing short of awe-inspiring,” Palochak said. “As one of the parents told me, dealing with Type 1 diabetes is a life-long fight and there is often no outlet for these children and their families.”
D-M provided that outlet for the families with tours of the 41st ECS, Fire Emergency Services firehouse, Air Traffic Control tower and even an EC-130H aircraft.
“Getting to tour inside the airplane and seeing what goes on behind the scenes was my favorite part,” said Annamarie Tellez, whose daughter has Type 1 diabetes and also attended the tour. “We actually have never been on a base before, so it was completely new for us. It was an incredible experience for the kids. I think they learned a lot.”
During the base tour, emphasis was put on one mission, making sure the kids had a great time.
“The day was about them,” Palochak said. “We wanted to give them a morning to have fun and be a kid, which is something that is often taken away from them due to their illness. “