21st Annual Father of the Year Awards Dinner and Gala Raises $150,000 for the UA Steele Children’s Research Center

Event celebrated five outstanding Tucson fathers while raising funds to support type 1 diabetes research, faculty recruitment and endowment at the UA Steele Center.

Type 1 diabetes patient Saylor Stratton, 16 (left), attends the Father’s Day Council Tucson event every year with her mom, Lori Stratton and her sister Ainsley.

Father’s Day Council Tucson celebrated five outstanding Tucson fathers at its 21st annual “Father of the Year Awards Dinner and Gala” on May 28 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

The event raised approximately $150,000 for type 1 diabetes research, faculty recruitment and the “Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes” at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center.

This annual event honors men who have demonstrated they are dedicated fathers, outstanding community role models and successful in their chosen field. This year’s honorees were:

  • Greg Byrne, vice president for athletics; University of Arizona
  • Lorenzo Livingston, master sergeant; U.S. Air Force
  • Patricio P. Lopez, III, partner/attorney; Rusing Lopez & Lizardi Attorneys at Law
  • Warren S. Rustand, chief executive officer; Providence Service Corp.
  • Mark Wheeler, MD, associate professor; Division of Endocrinology, University of Arizona, Department of Pediatrics; UA Steele Children’s Research Center

Over the past 20 years, Father’s Day Council Tucson has raised nearly $3.5 million for type 1 diabetes.

With this year’s contribution, Father’s Day Council Tucson has almost reached their $1.5 million mark for the “Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes,” which will be completed at $2 million.

“We are so grateful for Father’s Day Council Tucson,” said Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, professor and head, UA Department of Pediatrics, and director of the UA Steele Center. “Their support enables us to advance critically important research, and soon the endowment will be completed, which will enable us to recruit a world-class physician-scientist in pediatric endocrinology.”

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong, incurable autoimmune disease that occurs when the body fights itself and kills the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. In the United States, type 1 diabetes is increasing by 3 percent every year, which means that within a 15 year span, 50 percent more children will be diagnosed. Currently, more than 700 Tucson-area children are fighting type 1 diabetes, and will benefit from the impact made by Father’s Day Council Tucson.

“I attend the Father’s Day Council dinner every year because they are working hard to help bring more doctors to Tucson and give kids better care,” says 16-year-old Saylor Stratton, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old.  “The money they raise for research helps find better treatments for us, like the sleep study I participated in to see if sleep affects blood sugar levels.”  

Photos from the event can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/nflqj3j