PANDA Luncheon Fundraiser at The Phoenician Raises $2 Million



PANDA Luncheon Fundraiser at The Phoenician Raises $2 Million

(L-R) Penny Gunning, founder, Robyn DeBell, founder Janey Henke Cook, event chair, Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, Director of UA Steele Children's Research Center, Jennifer Karas, president and Tammy Ryan, event chair

The 18th Annual PANDA Luncheon Fundraiser at The Phoenician was a smashing success! The Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine organized the event and it was open to the public. The event was sold out a month in advance and welcomed 1,100 guests.

Dr. Ghishan and patient models (Abbigail Breton, Emma Korb, Holland Barr and Jack Haas)

The event chairs for the luncheon were Janey Henze Cook and Tammy Ryan. The luncheon included a beautifully plated meal, the “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show featuring 55 child models (some of which are PANDA patients), and a live and silent auction and raffle. The ballroom was simply magical and staged to reflect an "It's a Small World" theme.

Seventh grader, Kate Brink sang an opening song and Saylor Stratton, 2008 patient model, gave the luncheon’s invocation. Letitia Frye was the effervescent auctioneer and Jamie Krell was the event emcee who introducing all of the children models. The 55 child models posed, skipped, danced and strutted their stuff on the runway, showing off the season’s cutest fasions.

The annual event is designed to raise funds for PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers) for the Children’s Autoimmunity and Allergies Project, which continuously seeks to help unravel the mystery of common autoimmune issues among children, including Type 1 diabetes, juvenile arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, severe food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis and celiac disease.

More than $1.5 million was grossed at the event, and with a $500,000 match from the UA, the gross fundraising reached $2 million for autoimmunity and allergies research! Children everywhere benefit from the work being done by PANDA.

The organization was founded by Penny Gunning and Robyn DeBell in 1999 and to date, PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers), has donated more than $9 million to improve treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases as well as fund and recruit internationally recognized pediatric physicians and scientists to Arizona, providing local families with the most cutting-edge medical care. To learn more, visit: http://www.azpanda.org.


About PANDA

Since its founding, the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center, known as PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers), has raised more than $7.25 million to improve treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases as well as fund and recruit internationally recognized pediatric physicians and scientists to Arizona, providing local families with the most cutting-edge medical care.In 2014, they opened an office in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, located at 4455 E. Camelback Road, Ste. E125, making it even more convenient for local Valley families to participate in their advanced-stage studies and receive care without traveling to Tucson. Currently, this new center is focused on studying Type 1 diabetes, autism, and a disease called necrotizing enterocolitis found in premature infants.To learn more, visit: www.azpanda.org.

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