Volunteers with Tu Nidito hope to raise $300,000 to benefit the nonprofit organization while honoring five local "Remarkable Moms" at the Remarkable Celebration Back to the 80‘s on Saturday at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Dr. Photo provided by Tu Nidito

Tu Nidito

The Rincon family of Tucson and other Tu Nidito volunteers have a suggestion for a Mother’s Day gift that is, like, totally awesome: A party for the entire family at the Remarkable Celebration Back to the ’80s to benefit Tu Nidito.

“This is not your black-tie affair. It has become such a fun, enjoyable event and we wanted to keep that flavor, so the theme is the ’80s. We will have lots of fun with different characters, music and movies from the ’80s,” said Adriana Rincon, who is chairing the 2014 Remarkable Moms fundraiser along with her husband, Jose Sr., and their daughters, Paola, 25; Gaby, 21; and Julissa, 14.

“It is a sweet way to celebrate these women who have suffered the loss of a loved one or have suffered through health challenges themselves or with a child and have not only survived, but thrived, and are making a difference in the community.”

Honorees at the celebration include Dr. Donna Fulton, who has worked in hospice for more than 20 years at Tucson Medical Center; Karen Hess, who has supported several local children’s charities including Angel Charity for Children and Arizona Children’s Home for more than 36 years; Page Chancellor-Marks, an ovarian cancer survivor who has been active in MADD and other organizations and is a Girl Scout troop leader for her twin girls; Neelam Sethi, a patron and board member of the Fox Tucson Theatre and a supporter of the American Heart Association and other local charities; and Tiana Ronstadt, a community volunteer who has blogged about her family and her son, Larry, throughout his battle with and triumph over leukemia.

A past Remarkable Mom herself, Rincon understands Tu Nidito’s unique role in the Tucson community.

The nonprofit provides emotional, social and educational support to approximately 800 children and their families every year through one-on-one and group-based services designed for children, young adults and families grieving the death of a loved one, children who are diagnosed with a serious medical condition and their families, and children who have a parent with a serious medical condition and their families.

Many people are unaware of Tu Nidito services until they need them, Rincon said. She and her family learned of its existence when 14-year-old Jose Jr. was hit by a drunk driver on his bicycle and killed in 2008. The Rincons benefited from Tu Nidito support for three years; Gaby and Jose now volunteer as facilitators with age-appropriate bereavement support groups.

“Tu Nidito is a big reason that our daughters are doing so well. They got a lot out of it and we really want to pay that forward. I thought raising teens was tough, but you add in the element of grief and it is a whole other level of confusion,” Rincon said.

Ronstadt agreed that Tu Nidito’s ability to anticipate the needs of clients and families during lifetime crises is invaluable. After Larry — who is now almost 10 and is less than a year from being cancer-free — was diagnosed in 2011, Tu Nidito helped her and her husband, Jeff, along with their daughter, Mia, establish a network of support that included other families.

“You have no idea what you need, but you know that you need something where other people around you have at least a little of the same language and same experiences and can help you educate your community on how to help you,” she said.

Ronstadt said Tu Nidito provides a “safe place,” particularly for siblings of children who are seriously ill.

“There is so much support for the sick child and for the parents, but nothing else like Tu Nidito for siblings and other members of the family. The sibling is just so missed in the process and as a parent, you feel a lot of guilt about that. The Family Ties Program that Tu Nidito has put together for these siblings is just beautiful. It has meant so much to Mia and just really saved us,” she said.

Ronstadt said she is humbled to be recognized and optimistic the event will raise $300,000 to help fund Tu Nidito operating costs.

“People can’t believe I use the word ‘joy’ to describe this whole experience, and I ask, ‘What would be the other choice? Sorrow?’ Joy is a much better word and if we can choose to show up in all situations joyfully, then everyone around us can and it creates a win for everyone.”

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net