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Health group using children's book to raise money for grants

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PHOENIX -- A health group is hoping that sales of a children's book will help families meet their child's medical needs.

"Adventure Under the Stars" is the second book in a series called "Oliver and Hope.

"It's the story of Oliver, who is a wonderful bear, and Hope, who is his butterfly friend. They join a couple of friends on their first camping trip," said Kristen Hellmer, a spokeswoman for United Healthcare.

Eight United Healthcare employees helped to write the book, which is being sold right now on Amazon. The proceeds from the sales go to the United Healthcare Children's Foundation, which provides grants to families needing help for their child's treatments.

"Each family can receive up to $5,000 per child to pay for medical services, such as wheelchairs, speech therapy, counseling, hearing aids and whatever services or equipment their children may need that may not be covered by their commercial health insurance plan," Hellmer explained.

Interested parents are encouraged to apply and must meet several requirements.

"You need to have a child 16 years of age or younger, live in the United States, meet a few economic guidelines and have a commercial health insurance plan," she said.

Parents can apply for a grant at

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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