15-year-old Sruti Bandlamuri Raises more Than $7, 000 for Autism Research at UA Steele Children’s Research Center Through Performance

Sruti donated all proceeds from her performance—more than $7,000—to support autism research at the UA Steele Center.

15-year-old Sruti Bandlamuri is a very talented and generous young lady.

Sruti is a student of the ancient Indian dance form known as “Bharatanatyam,” and began studying the art form when she was 5 years old.

On Aug. 23, Sruti performed the “Bharatanatyam Arangetram,” which is the graduation of a student of the dance form. The performance demonstrates that the student has graduated and is prepared to perform for the public. Nearly 600 people attended Sruti’s four-hour performance that took place at the Temple of Music and Art.

“My dance performance was the biggest achievement of my life,” said Sruti. “It meant a lot to me, given that it was my debut as a dancer of Bharatanatyam.”

In lieu of gifts or flowers, Sruti requested that donations be made to the autism research at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center.

“The reason I chose autism research for my fund is because I have personal ties with it,” explained Sruti. “The UA Steele Center is a great place for this research because they are asking the fundamental question: What causes autism?”

“Moreover, I have young cousins who have autism and they have embraced it as best they can. There is so much ambiguity surrounding the causes of this disorder and parents often feel in the dark, not knowing whether there was a way to prevent it. I have seen amazing support systems for children with autism formed by the families at home and teachers and classmates at school.”

“I am inexplicably grateful that I had the chance to incorporate my biggest aspiration into my debut, which is to progress our understanding of the human brain,” said Sruti.

UA Steele Center director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, professor and head, UA Department of Pediatrics, and Karen Mlawsky, CEO and Senior Vice President of University of Arizona Medical Center, attended the event.

“Sruti’s performance was beautiful and inspiring,” said Dr. Ghishan. “It is amazing what she has accomplished at such a young age. We are touched by her generosity in donating to our autism research.”
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The UA Steele Children’s Research Center is one of the prestigious Centers of Excellence within the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. It is the only facility in Southern Arizona where researchers and physician-scientists are dedicated to advancing medical knowledge through research to improve children’s health. As researchers, they seek to discover answers to children’s medical mysteries. As physician-scientists, they provide compassionate care to hospitalized patients at the University of Arizona Medical Center – Diamond Children’s and pediatric outpatient clinics throughout Tucson and the state. And, as faculty members with the UA Department of Pediatrics, they teach and train the next generation of pediatricians and researchers.