Ask Me Why I Hurt



dr-randy-office-smilingMy name is Randy Christensen and I am a pediatrician.  I work for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and I think I have the best job in the world.  I get to go out to the community everyday and take care of homeless children and adolescents.  Like my job, my “office” is a little unusual as well.  My team and I travel around in a 38-foot mobile medical unit known locally as the Crews’n Healthmobile.

A few years ago I started writing a book about some of the kids we have seen.  The end result is Ask Me Why I Hurt.  Throughout the book you get a chance to meet some of the homeless adolescents that came to the Big Blue van for help.  You get a chance to share in some of their tragedies but more importantly you get a chance to see them succeed.  Hopefully you can relate to them as fellow human beings and perhaps some of the myths can be wiped away.

We built this website so that you could dig a little deeper into the book and the program.  Perhaps you want to see some pictures of the staff or some of the sites we go to on a regular basis.  Maybe you want to leave a question you had or tell a personal story about being homeless or helping someone that was homeless.

In the end I hope that the book can be a call to action.  It may mean different things to different people.  Maybe some parents will sit down and spend some time with their kids discussing difficult topics like homelessness and poverty.  Maybe others might decide to volunteer in a program in their community.  Some may even want to donate to worthy organizations if they have the means.  I applaud you for all of these things and I thank you for interest in Ask Me Why I Hurt.

Thanks again for stopping by,

Dr Randy

22 thoughts on “Ask Me Why I Hurt

  • Dr. Christensen,
    It was a pleasure meeting you and Amy if even for the briefest of moments at the booksigning last week. I can see why Michelle likes her job and speaks so highly of you. I began reading the book on my flight home to Chicago and for the first time, I wished the flight was longer. How many could say that! I wanted to continue reading without interuption. Your story illustrates a truth so essential to the gospel message of Jesus. He came to save the lost and the forgotten. To love those rejected and replace abandonment with hope. I look forward to the rest of the story in the book and the unfolding of your story as it continues today and beyond. Thanks for the inspirational lives you and Amy provide and for the work of your awesome team at Crews’ Blessings.

  • As a community based clinical social worker who works primarily in the inner city the stories in your book did not shock me but gave me instead a sense of your understanding of the work that I do and others who work in community settings. Validation helps me get back out there every day and face the challenges of the work that I do and receive the rewards that are small but brilliantly human. Thank you for the wisdom of your book and all you’ve shared in creating it and thank you for giving to others all that you do.

    • Thanks for reading and more importantly thanks for all that you do. We love hearing from our “colleagues” out in the trenches!

  • I caught part of your interview on NPR and was compelled to purchase the book. I found it enlightening and certainly some of the myths were dispelled for me. Thank you to your team for all that you are doing.

  • I just finished reading your book, and was moved to tears by Nicoles’s story. I’ll be posting reviews soon. I hope that more people will understand how heartbreaking it is that teens (especially the mentally ill)on the streets are being lost because of our laws that won’t give them help without an address, ID, or insurance. Thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences. Your wife is a saint 😉 ask her to write about her journey too…

  • Hi Randy, I just finished your book in 2 days (& I am a slow reader). I could not put it down!!!! I am a teacher in the chandler school district & share your heart for kids. Your life experiences growing up seemed to mirror so many of mine as I grew up in Tucson as well and am a year younger than you. Your mention of your sister also rang a bell. So I looked in my yearbook & there you were! I was on yearbook staff with your sister. I am deeply touched by the sacrifices you & your wife make for the children beyond your own. My husband and I have 3 children also & we are a family of faith. Please know that your medical team & services will be in our prayers from now on. God bless you all.

    • Thanks for such a nice post! I love my job and my team is the best! Good luck with the teaching!

  • Dr Christensen
    I work with Michelle Ray’s Mother Barbara. She introduced your book to me. Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world. I wish more doctors and lawyers and such would give back to the community like you, Jan and your staff have. (And not just to get a tax break) The way Rene Denfeld took you thoughts and memories and put them on paper was so profound. I wept for Becca (Nicole), I wept for your mother and I wonder how Stephanie is feeling. I love and admire Amy. What a strong women she is. Here you are taking care of the children that no one wants, and she is at home trying to hold on to ones that you most desire. Just incredible. I could go on and on. Again thank you for sharing your story, and Donald’s story and Sugar’s story. More people need to know. Maybe this might bring more down from their humble abodes in Scottdale, PV, and Cave Creek to the Ghettos and Varrios and the alleys and the gutters, to help someone in need. I smile at how brave you and Jan are. Although I suspect Miss Jan won’t back down too easy!

  • Dr. Christensen,

    There is a reason for everything. I was in Borders this past Tuesday, and as we all know they are going out. Well, I was just browsing all books because I haven’t bought anything for myself in awhile. I saw your book. The cover brought me in 100%. I haven’t even finished the book, only the first chapter, and I can’t fully describe how much it makes me feel to read your story. I am starting out in my field of Social Work. I graduated in 2010, and recently became licensed. Thank YOU for reiterating once again, for me, & the world, why we do the things we do. It’s people like you, that don’t stop if you really want something. This helped me also realize that it CAN be done if your heart goes into it (only in the first chapter may I add!) I put the book done to go online & I’m glad I found this to write something. I can only imagine what the rest of the book has to offer. Am starting up again right now. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for reaching out. I am glad you are enjoying the book. Let me know what you think when you finish! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  • Dr. Randy,
    Your book really hit home with me. I was homeless in Phx from 2004-2008. I know these places you write about, but more importantly, I know of the children and teens that are out there. I used to pray for a “fisherman” to throw a line to me and pull me out. It took 4 years, but I made it 21 days before I gave birth to my daughter. Without help from people like you, these kids don’t stand a chance. I would love to volunteer on Big Blue sometime and let these kids know that there is hope of recovering from homelessness. I finished your book, and ran out and bought $300 worth of socks and underwear for you to hand out.
    Thank you so much for what you do, but even more thanks for writing this book. The world needs to hear our story.

    • Thanks so much for posting. I love to hear success stories and yours is amazing. I hope others will follow your lead and look to help those in their communities that need it most! You are a wonderful person and you have already made a difference!

  • Dear Dr. Christensen,

    I am a pediatrician and adolescent medicince specialist with a particular interest in working with homeless youth. Your book was recommended to me by an esteemed colleague and mentor, Seth Ammerman. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as quickly as I read yours!

    The experiences you shared in the book mirror many of my own experiences working with a homeless youth in Los Angeles and the North East. I feel strongly that this book should be required reading for ANYONE interested in working with homeless youth! I bought several copies to share with colleagues and EVERYONE who has read the book has told me that they learned something about homeless youth and were moved by your story.

    BRAVO and Thank you!

    • Thanks for such kind words. It was a fantastic journey writing the book and I am so glad you enjoyed reading it. Hopefully we will one day live in a world where kids don’t have to sleep in the streets. Randy

  • I live with DID,the pc label for multiple personality disorder and wanted to say thankyou for honouring ‘Nicole’ during her life and for caring about her death.So many of us have stories of being treated and seen as subhuman and not worth the effort by the system,it matters to know that there are people who see the shattered human being who needs help.Even if they cant help,it matters that they care.

    And DID is the result of having to rely too much on dissociation during a chronicly abusive or neglectful childhood so if theres one thing people with DID know how to do its dissociate under stress,just like the girl on your table.Your Nicoles defences wouldve kicked in at the end whichever personality was up front,its how it works.

    You’re making a difference out there,even to the kids who dont have happy endings.And to those of us who got through that life to adulthood and are still fighting inhumane red tape and budget cuts while the rich get richer and the caring professionals get more jaded and burned out.A drop of humanity goes a long way in this world,we ‘should’ be affected by each others plights and want to help,thats the human response.Our societys need more people like you showing that it makes a difference when you see people as human beings and care that theyre in need.

  • Dear Randy..

    I’m from Malaysia and I came across a writing about your book in my local newspaper. Thanks to it, I have purchased the book and finish reading it in one day.

    What you are doing now is truly inspirational..your endless dedication to serve those homeless kids inspires me to become a better person and to lead my life in a more meaningful way…

    Thank you Randy…

    • Wow Malaysia! That’s neat, didn’t know the book made it all the way over there! Thanks for checking in. I would love to see the newspaper article. I hope you have a wonderful new year!

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