Home "The AZ Insider" with Kathy Shayna Shocket AZ Insider: PANDA Raises Record $3M in Phoenix

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 A record setting $3 million was raised at the 19th annual PANDA fashion show, chaired by Kyle Christensen, Allison Irwin, Lindsey Williams, and Gretchen Schubert; all pictured above left with Jacque Linaman, president of the Phoenix Women’s Board. 

Let me take you behind the scenes of this generous sold out crowd of 1,200 at the Marriott Camelback Inn - because  PANDA’s  grassroots story is inspiring!

Pictured above right are Robyn DeBell and Penny Gunning. Robyn’s friend Louise Thomas in Tucson, sadly lost her five-year old son Michael to leukemia and vowed to start a facility to help find the cause and cure for terrible childhood diseases.  After the Steele Center became that reality, Robyn and Penny were determined to help raise funds in Phoenix. Now, 19 fashion shows later featuring kids - they are surrounded by a village of committed volunteers.

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Pictured above right with Steele Children's Research Center, Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Fayez Ghishan, is Micheline Etkin. Playing a major part behind the scenes for 18 years, coaching the children on their runway presentation, (especially helping them to understand the “Children Helping Children” design of this event), this international model was PANDA’s first honorary lifetime member of the Phoenix Women’s Board.

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Fox Restaurant Concepts was this year’s title sponsor. (Sam Fox is pictured above right with Mike Bill and Kevin Calihan. Sam and Emily Fox, Christie and  Brian Frakes and Dierks Bentley donated an auction package to Nashville’s, CMA Country Music Festival and to Dierks Whiskey Row via private jet. Congrats to John Larmore and wife Michelle (pictured above left) who bid $65,000.

Modeling Ralph Lauren fashions, pictured below left (and thank you Courtney Lively for the runway and bidding photos) are patient model Carter Young and brother Cade Young. On the right are Dr. Ghishan and patient model Patrick Polachek. Below right are Tate Thinnes and Henry Ceran.

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The Phoenix Women’s Board is now 68 members strong. “One of the secret of its success is the young girls stepping into the leadership roles - their skill sets are far reaching and their passion is unrivaled, “ notes Robyn. 

Penny adds that, “Our goal for 2018 is to fund critical research to solve the heartbreaking mysteries associated with epilepsy in children. “  The event’s giving platinum sponsors were the Cowin Charitable Fund, Laurie  and Drew Brown, The Garcia Family Foundation and Kathleen and John Graham Children’s Epilepsy Project.

  kathy shayna shocket copy    Kathy Shayna Shocket is a freelance Writer, and TV- Field Producer. The former TV-Reporter has written for publications such as TIME Magazine, MONEY Magazine, PEOPLE Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter and The NEW YORK TIMES. You can reach her at redkarpetgirl@aol.com