August 11, 2004

Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell; Allie Thompson, 272-3690 office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE A former volunteer at the Carrie Tingley Hospital (CTH), now a monster truck driver, is providing amazing opportunities for New Mexico's sick children.

Charles Benz, who used to volunteer in the recreation room at CTH, currently races monster trucks throughout New Mexico. During a recent race in Roswell, he made an announcement that all winnings would go directly to CTH. The spectators then took up a collection to supplement the donation.

The $750 check was presented to CTH July 26. "This young man who races monster trucks had volunteered at CTH in the recreation room and it has changed his life," says Dr. Elizabeth Szalay, Associate Professor of Orthopaedics and Pediatrics. "Frankly, I'm impressed that a young man that age would be so philanthropic."

After spending time with the children at CTH, Benz gained a new perspective on life. "I used to be a whiner until I saw the bravery of those kids," Benz says. He is making plans to organize future monster truck racing events where all funds raised are donated to CTH.

Among those plans, Benz is sending photos of his monster truck and other racing activities to CTH for distribution to the children. Department Secretary in Medical Affairs, Charles Mascarenas, says Benz was most impressed with the strong mindset of the children and their families facing challenging situations. "He was amazed at the resilient attitude of the patients as well as all the staff at CTH," Mascarenas adds.

The pictures will generate positive energy for the children staying at the hospital. CTH is the only hospital in the state specializing in complex pediatric orthopedic care. The physicians and staff at CTH are committed to providing responsive, caring and coordinated healthcare services to the highest quality to children and adolescents who require acute and long-term medical and therapeutic care. For more information on the UNM Health Sciences Center, visit http://.hsc.unm.edu.