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Since 1962, the members of Women’s Auxiliary have efficiently and effectively raised awareness and funds to help the advancement of Children’s Medical Center, leaving all the members past and present with the good feeling that they have helped someone. 

Children’s Medical Center handles nearly 600,000 patient visits annually at both the Dallas and Plano campus and their 10 outpatient clinics.  While some patients are treated for common colds, others need the most advanced technology and medicine available. To date, Women’s Auxiliary has provided more than $15 million in gifts to Children’s - - funds that have helped with construction and renovation, education programs, medical equipment, scholarships and more.

“Our members are motivated and are individuals who want to contribute to the children,” said Polly McKeithen, current President Dallas Chapter for Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center. “Their [members] motivation is selfless.”

The fundraising efforts haven’t been easy, but Women’s Auxiliary hopes they can inform, educate and raise awareness, so that the community can come together and help support the research and care for children in need.

“I look at the ways our founding volunteers got started – they were making coffee and helping patients on the exam table,” McKeithen said. Now, these ambassadors are not only providing support for the hospital and families, but they are gifting Children’s with the funds to help the hospital continue to be one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country.  

Women’s Auxiliary and their members have raised funds to support critical care and other high need areas of the hospital through several fundraising projects and events. This Friday, April 20th, Women’s Auxiliary will be hosting the 44th annual Family Nigh at Six Flags with all proceeds going to Children’s.

“We are so blessed to have Six Flags open its gates for us,” McKeithen said. “There is so much enthusiasm in the park that night. Being able to run around and not have any long lines – it feels like Christmas at Six Flags.”

On Friday, April 20th, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., the public is invited to head out to Six Flags in Arlington to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Women’s Auxiliary and the continued success of Children’s Medical Center. Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at Tom Thumb stores or $56.99 (plus tax) at the gate on the night of the event. The event is open to the public.

With the help from the public and Women’s Auxiliary we can move another step closer to making a better life for children.

Here is to Women’s Auxiliary and another 50 years.

Click here to become involve with Women’s Auxiliary.

Family Night at Six Flags
Six Flags Over Texas
2201 Road to Six Flags
Arlington, TX 76011


His official job title is board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist.

But you could also call him Doctor Dad.

For the past 11 years, Dr. Michael Russo has worked in the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Children’s Medical Center. During his years at Children’s, he’s helped numerous children with a slew of health issues—from allergic disorders to liver problems.

“I take care of children who have issues and concerns about their intestinal tracts, ranging from as simple as stomach pain or reflux to inflammatory bowel disease,” he said.

And while he might sound clinical when describing his work, his approach to working with children is much simpler. A father with three children under the age of 10, Dr. Russo is well-schooled on the emotional and physical needs of his pint-size patients and their parents.

“I certainly think being a parent has made me more compassionate and more empathetic. I can easily see this as being my child. My simple goal is to provide care for any child like I would want for my own kids.”

Children’s Medical Center, he said, follows the same mentality. “What sets the hospital apart from others is its complete dedication to and primary focus on children. “

To help maintain its exceptional service in the care of children, Children’s Medical Center relies on donations from groups like the Women’s Auxiliary.  Each year the organization hosts a Six Flags Family Night, which generates some of the $15 million dollars in funds that are gifted to the hospital. This year’s Family Night at Six Flags will be held on Friday, April 20th, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at Tom Thumb stores or $56.99 (plus tax) at the gate on the night of the event. The event is open to the public.

Proceeds from the event are used to support various critical care needs at the hospital, such as capital projects and educational programs. Funds also go to equipment purchases, like life support machines and a surgical robotic arm and cameras among other things— to help ensure that doctors have the latest technology when working with their patients.

Having the latest high-tech medical tools allows doctors like Russo to provide the best care possible to children. But it’s a simple age-old adage that encourages the Dr. Dad most.

“I think if you follow the Golden Rule, and treat others the way you want to be treated, only good things can happen.”


Call it a mother’s instinct. Amy Zicarelli had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right with her newborn son, Luke.

“He would eat and be so unhappy, crying and screaming during feedings,” she said.  Weeks later, Zicarelli began to notice blood in her son’s diapers. He was also vomiting frequently after eating.

Multiple doctors told the first-time mom something she already knew: babies spit up. But in their hearts, both Zicarelli and her husband, Mike, believed that there was more to the constant vomiting and diarrhea.

Eventually, the family was referred to Dr. Michael Russo at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

“It took us as a family pushing for answers,” she said. “When we got to Dr. Russo at Children’s, he had the patience and sincerity to really follow through on some testing. He took the time to investigate all those symptoms. If that hadn’t happened, it could have very well taken years to discover what was making Luke sick.”

After rounds of testing, doctors finally discovered the cause of Luke’s illness. He was diagnosed with eosinophilic disorder, or EOS, a complex digestive system disorder. Eosinophils, white blood cells, are found in above-normal amounts in specific places in the digestive system and the blood. When the body wants to attack a substance, such as an allergy-triggering food, eosinophils respond by releasing a variety of toxins. These toxins can cause chronic inflammation, resulting in tissue damage.

EOS is a chronic, life-long disorder requiring invasive procedures. Luke has been under anesthesia 28 or 29 times, Zicarelli said. Along with check-ups every three months, Luke sees a play therapist each week at Children’s Medical Center.

The diagnosis placed heavy restrictions on Luke’s diet. Now five, Luke cannot eat anything containing milk, soy, wheat, eggs, fish, or nuts.

“Basically, his body believes that food is a parasite,” Amy said. “It transformed our life overnight. He’s never been to a McDonald’s, he’s never been to a pizza place, he can’t have ice cream.”

“At he has gotten older, at each developmental stage, it’s a new set of challenges and now that he’s aware of his surroundings and himself, our newest struggle has been anxiety,” she said. “He sees a therapist each week to help him through anxieties around food and his perception of himself in general."

For Luke and his family, Children’s Medical Center has become a sort of safety zone. In a world that constantly presents food as a routine part of child’s play, from snack time at kindergarten to treats after soccer games, hospital visits allow the five-year-old to let his guard down.

“There’s a sense of safety for him at the hospital because he knows this is the place where someone is taking care of him,” she said.

The Zicarelli’s are now sharing their positive experiences at Children’s in their new role as the Honorary Chair Family for the annual Family Night at Six Flags, a fundraising event hosted by the Women’s Auxiliary.  Since 1962, the Women’s Auxiliary has raised more than $15 million dollars in funds for the hospital. Fun events like Six Flags night, when the park is open just for those who buy a ticket in support of Children’s, help raise money that is donated to the hospital.

This year’s Family Night at Six Flags will be held on Friday, April 20th, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at your area's Tom Thumb store or $56.99 (plus tax) at the gate on the night of the event. Proceeds will fund various critical care needs at Children’s. The event is open to the public.

“It’s a really unique evening at Six Flags, it kind of like a private night among people who are supporting such a great cause,” Amy said. “We so appreciate everything that Children’s has done for our family. They’ve gone above and beyond to help us figure out what’s going on. We’re so blessed to have a Children’s Medical Center in the Dallas community."