Josh Cares' Fire & Ice Event Supports Cincinnati Children's

Two year old Zeke Christensen relies on his Child Life Specialist Annie Krause when his loving family is not able to be at the hospital with him due to family and work obligations at their home two hours from Cincinnati Children’s.

Photography by Moira Grainger

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center caters to children and families, not just in Ohio, but all over the world. Because it’s one of the top-ranked children’s hospitals in the country, families flock to Cincinnati to find the best care for their children. But, at the end of the day, parents and families of chronically ill children might not always be capable of sacrificing time spent on other life responsibilities for time at their child’s bedside. It is this situation, which can often leave sick children alone in the hospital for weeks, months or even years at a time, that led to the creation of Josh Cares.

The Cincinnati nonprofit works to help hospitalized children who might not have the benefit of family members at their side through their ordeal. Josh Cares brings in Child Life Specialists to be with and care for children during their stay at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Josh Cares is the only known organization in the country to provide for these children in such a manner.

To pay for this outstanding program, Josh Cares works hard year-round on fundraising efforts. One event, the annual Fire & Ice party, is integral to raising money for the organization, accounting for more than a quarter of the annual budget. “Our Child Life Specialists do whatever a child needs at any moment, from traumatic days like surgery and transplants to the everyday anxiety and stress,” says Joy Rowe Blang, executive director of Josh Cares. “They focus on helping the kids cope and relax. The support from Fire & Ice helps us to expand care and narrow the specialist-to-child ratio every day.”

10 years of spectacular event planning! The 2015 Fire and Ice Committee, 1st row from left to right: Lisa Hall, Wendy Barney and Lynn Pierce; 2nd row: Alicia Gerlinger, Tracy DiGennaro, Leigh Anne Meurer, and Chrissy Fixler (not pictured: Gina Burrington)


For the past decade, Fire & Ice celebrations have occurred at the home of co-founders Dan and Lynn Pierce. This has created a unique environment for such a large event, fostering an intimate, home-like feel to the party. This year, however, the organization celebrates Fire & Ice’s 10-year anniversary by shifting the party to the Greenacres Arts Center in Indian Hill to accommodate a high demand for tickets.

“Since we started putting together themes for the event, it’s been huge,” says Wendy Barney, committee leader for Fire & Ice. “But since Greenacres is still a house, the intimate atmosphere won’t change, which is great.”

Fire & Ice: A Gourmet Affair with a New “Flare” in Grand Gatsby Style, will boast a strong 1920s theme befitting the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “The biggest thing about Fire & Ice is that it’s a fundraiser, but it’s also a celebration of thanks to the people who support our cause,” says Barney. “It’s not a huge performance, yet it’s still entertaining. There are no auctions or raffles – it’s a lot of mingling and showing thanks.”

The culture of the event is warm, upbeat and comfortable – a direct reflection of the way that Josh Cares’ Child Life Specialists strive to help the children in the hospital feel. It’s thanks to the attendees of Fire & Ice that hospitalized children don’t have to be alone when they’re scared or worried, and the organization plans to continue to expand the program as support for the cause expands.


For more information about Josh Cares or to purchase tickets for Fire & Ice, you can reach them at 513.459.1911 or visit their website at