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19th Annual PANDA Luncheon Raises Over $3 Million to Support Epilepsy Project
By Tyler Butler
The love of a sibling was the focus of the story shared during this year’s PANDA luncheon program, which took place last month at the Phoenician.
Guests were moved by the tale of a brother and his concerns for his little brother who suffers from epilepsy. The vignette set the tone for the luncheon and showed the impact of the illness on children. It also provided a platform for Dr. Fayez Ghishan to speak about the valuable work that is being funded by the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center.
The organization supports discovery processes to improve treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases. The partnership between PANDA members and the researchers and physicians at the Steele Center have made it possible for them to embody the name People Acting Now Discovering Answers.
Each year the luncheon focuses its efforts on a specific area of need and this year’s selection of epilepsy resonated with the crowd.
“Children who develop seizures as infants or at an early age struggle to have a medicine regimen that adequately reduces the number and intensity of episodes,” said PANDA board president Jacque Linaman. “Each seizure leaves a lasting mark on the development of their brains, at the very time that the brain development is most crucial. The project will provide whole genome sequencing, gene and function analysis for children diagnosed with epilepsy.”
The luncheon and fashion show hosted nearly 1,200 guests and raised over $3 million for children’s epilepsy research.
Kyle Christensen, Lindsey Williams, Gretchen Schubert and Allison Irwin served as the event chairs and Micheline Etkin served as the model coach for the 18th consecutive year for the children who modeled fashions by Ralph Lauren.
Auctioneer Letitia Frye encouraged fundraising while Jamie Krell kept the crowd engaged as event emcee.