The second annual Eat Dessert First Day (EDFD) takes place on Thursday, April 21, to honor the memory of pediatric cancer patient Dana Morgan; to celebrate family and friends; and to raise funds for childhood cancer research at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center.
Scott and Michelle Morgan created Eat Dessert First Day in honor of their daughter Dana, who passed away on Jan. 22, 2015, at the young age of 10, from complications associated with treatments intended to eradicate leukemia. Dana would have turned 12 on April 21.
“On April 21, participants eat dessert first for lunch or dinner while celebrating the presence of family and friends in their lives,” said Dana’s mom, Michelle.
In addition to eating dessert first on April 21, EDFD participants are encouraged to donate $12 or more to support the pediatric cancer research program at the UA Steele Center, a Center of Excellence within the UA College of Medicine– Tucson, at the University of Arizona Health Sciences.
The Morgan family was actively involved with the UA Steele Center’s family auxiliary, Kids of Steele.
“While inspired by Dana, Eat Dessert First Day is in honor of all childhood cancer warriors and the parents who go to bed each night praying that research will find treatments that enable their precious children to survive and thrive,” said Michelle.
“Eat Dessert First Day honors Dana’s palpable enthusiasm for life, her appreciation for the fun that comes from doing the unexpected, and the tremendous importance she placed on spending time with family and friends,” said Dana’s dad, Scott.
A number of restaurants are participating this year by promoting EDFD or donating a portion of their proceeds on April 21 to the pediatric cancer research program at the UA Steele Center. They are:
- Contigo Latin Kitchen
- Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery
- Flemings Steakhouse
- Frankie’s South Philly Cheesesteaks
- Kingfisher Bar & Grill
- Prep & Pastry
The Morgan’s created a Facebook page for EDFD and ask people to upload photos of themselves eating dessert first. The EDFD Facebook page: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Eat%20Dessert%20First%20Day
To make a donation to the UA Steele Center’s pediatric cancer research program, go to: www.uafoundation.org/NetCommunity/events/eatdessertfirstday
About Dana, aka “Dananator”
Dana was known to many as “Dananator” because of her champion spirit and contagious, exuberant energy. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was only 4 years old.
After the original diagnosis, Dana endured two relapses, but through it all she maintained her positive spirit. She always was sharing hugs, greeting people with a high-five and making everyone laugh. She loved many things – including her constant companion, Swimmie the Dolphin, fedoras, sports, music, wearing mismatched socks, family gatherings and, of course, dessert.
When diagnosed with a second relapse in Aug. 2014, Dana was hospitalized at Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center for intensive treatments to eradicate cancer cells in preparation for a stem cell transplant. While at Diamond Children’s, Dana often talked about what she would do when discharged. She created a list of fun activities and adventures. One of her sweetest and simplest ideas was to enjoy family dinner at one of her favorite restaurants – with the added perk of being allowed to eat dessert first.
“Dana’s passing demonstrates a harsh reality – children need safer, more effective treatment options,” said Scott. “Unfortunately, not nearly enough research funding is directed to pediatric cancers, but we can change that.”
About the UA Steele Children’s Research Center
The UA Steele Children’s Research Center is one of the prestigious Centers of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. It is the state’s only academic pediatric research center designated by the Arizona Board of Regents, and the only facility in Southern Arizona where researchers and physician-scientists are dedicated to advancing medical knowledge through basic and translational 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 Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center 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.
About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: http://uahs.arizona.edu