PANDA: “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show & Luncheon Spotlights Children

18th annual event raises support for Children’s Autoimmunity and Allergies Project.

The Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona held its 18th annual PANDA “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon on March 25 at The Phoenician. The event, themed “It’s a Small World,” featured 55 child models, live and silent auctions, and a raffle.

More than 1,100 guests attended the sold-out event, generating more than $1.5 million. With a $500,000 match from the University of Arizona, the gross fundraising reached $2 million. The funds collected will subsidize the PANDA Children’s Autoimmunity and Allergies Project, which seeks to help unravel the mystery of common autoimmune issues among children. These include type 1 diabetes, juvenile arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, severe food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis and celiac disease.

Janey Henze Cook and Tammy Ryan co-chaired this year’s luncheon. PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers) was founded by Penny Gunning and Robyn DeBell in 1999. To date, the organization 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. Jennifer Karas serves this year as board president.

The 55 young models entered the runway wearing fashions provided by Katie Wilson, owner of Garage Boutique & Concept Store.


Penny Gunning, PANDA co-founder; Robyn DeBell, PANDA co-founder; Janey Henze Cook, event co-chair; Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan, UA Steele Children’s Research Center director; Jennifer Karas, PANDA president; and Tammy Ryan, event co-chair

Caroline McLain and her mother, Micheline Etkin

Livvy Fincham, Ella Louis and Tatum Liston

Tammy Ryan, event co-chair; Jordan Ragland; Kari Denk, PANDA vice president; and Lisa Barnes

Charlie and Cooper Frakes

Bonnie Love Baker, Babi Gabel, Marissa Kline, Chris Karas, Angela Phillips and Mary Grassl

Stephanie McNaughton and Eva Walz

Kari Denk, PANDA vice president; Jacque Linaman, PANDA president-elect; Jennifer Karas, PANDA president; Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan; Kylie Cook, PANDA treasurer; and Katrina Schaefer, PANDA secretary

Ava and Mia Calihan


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