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Barrow Grand Ball 2020 Raises Record $8.3 Million for Research

January 21, 2020
2020 Barrow Grand Ball Leadership (left to right): 2020 Chairman of the Women’s Board of Barrow Neurological Foundation Amy Thurston; Barrow Neurological Institute President and CEO Michael T. Lawton, MD; 2020 Barrow Grand Ball Co-Chairman Christine Watson; 2020 Barrow Grand Ball Co-Chairman Tahnia McKeever.

PHOENIX, AZ (January 21, 2020) – The Women’s Board of the Barrow Neurological Foundation raised a record $8.3 million for Barrow Neurological Institute through the 2020 Barrow Grand Ball. Women’s Board members Tahnia McKeever and Christine Watson co-chaired the black-tie gala held January 18 at the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.  Amy Thurston is the 2020 chairman of the Women’s Board, which has supported Barrow for 55 years, raising more than $75 million for life-changing initiatives. 

“We come together as a community on this one special night to support the amazing and unique place that is Barrow Neurological Institute,” Amy Thurston said. “It is a place filled with remarkable optimism, where clinicians and researchers confidently work toward the next big, curative discovery and donors invest with confidence in their important work.”

Each year for the Grand Ball, the Women’s Board supports a project meaningful to its membership and important to the future of Barrow. In 2020, the Grand Ball committee selected the Sonntag Spine Center at Barrow Neurological Institute.  Led by Juan S. Uribe, MD, the Sonntag Spine Center accepts the challenge of treating painful and debilitating spine conditions, in order to reduce back pain and restore mobility. Seven years after the retirement of its namesake, Volker K. H. Sonntag, MD, the center builds on his legacy of providing hope by searching for a cure for paralysis, expanding minimally invasive surgery, and improving outcomes from surgery and rehabilitation.

“For 55 years, our Women’s Board has been working tirelessly to raise funds for the world’s leading experts at Barrow Neurological Institute. They continue to represent the gold standard of support groups in our community and across the nation and their dedication has led to countless discoveries, treatments and hope for the future of our patients,” said Katie Cobb, President of Barrow Neurological Foundation. “This record year for the 2020 Grand Ball will provide the necessary resources for our specialists to continue to do what is most important to our mission and our patients: save lives.”

In addition to the Sonntag Spine Center, this year’s funds also support Barrow research in critical areas including Alzheimer’s, aneurysm, brain tumor, headache, Parkinson’s, spinal disorder and stroke.

With a gift through the 2020 Barrow Grand Ball, Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance and the Dorrance Family Foundation will endow the Dorrance Chair of Vascular Neurology. Michael Waters, MD, PhD, director of the Neurovascular Division and Stroke Program, will be the named chair. This endowment allows dedicated time for his groundbreaking research to identify genetic mechanisms of stroke and develop drugs to minimize the damage caused by stroke.

A gift from Barbara Anderson will go toward the purchase of a second Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit (BESTU) to double the coverage of this innovative program bringing the emergency department to a patient’s driveway, providing life-saving care.

The 2020 Barrow Grand Ball was a sold-out event. Distinguished guests included Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, former Vice President Dan Quayle and former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.