L-R: Rick Rokosz, Michelle Krist, Flagstaff Medical Center’s Director of Critical Care and Pediatrics, Darlene Rokosz, John Harrington, FMC’s Chief Administrative Officer.

L-R: Rick Rokosz, Michelle Krist, Flagstaff Medical Center’s Director of Critical Care and Pediatrics, Darlene Rokosz, John Harrington, FMC’s Chief Administrative Officer.

There’s no denying that toys in the hospital can bring sick or injured children happiness and comfort in an unfamiliar place, and distraction from fears that may plague them. It’s one of the reasons the staff in the pediatrics department at Flagstaff Medical Center give patients a stuffed animal each time they’re admitted. These gifts are often donated, especially during the winter holiday season, and the supply of these “critter friends” often dries up by summer.

Enter children’s heroes Rick and Darlene Rokosz, who have established and manage “Project K.I.A.N.: Kids in Affection Need,” with the purpose of supplying the pediatrics department with enough critters to last year-round. They have engaged their community of Cottonwood, Arizona as well as many friends from afar to join in a “Critter Raising Campaign,” and have delivered more than 500 critters for sick and injured children at the hospital. Many of these stuffed animals will become a child’s best friend during their hospital stay and long after they have returned home.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you had a hand in brightening the day of a child hospitalized in a strange place surrounded by unfamiliar faces,” said Rick Rokosz.

Project K.I.A.N.

Kian is Rick and Darlene’s grandson who has seen his fair share of hospitals. His favorite stuffed animal was always a great comfort to Kian during his hospital stays. This sparked the idea with Rick and Darlene to find a way to bring that type of comfort to other children through their “critter raising campaign.” Their efforts have touched the lives of hundreds of children in northern Arizona. If you would like to contribute to Project K.I.A.N., visit nahealthfoundation.org/donate.


If you would like to know more about how you can work with us to match your interests with making a difference in the lives of others, please contact Matt Eckhoff, Donor Relations, at 928.773.2426 or by email: matt.eckhoff@nahealth.com.


Banner Photo: Rick Rokosz shares a comfort critter.