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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA hosts Bear Down Luncheon focusing on arthritis


Courtesy of Tracy Shake

UA Arthritis Center co-founder Dr. Robert G. Volz (left) speaks with guests at the Bear Down Luncheon last year. This year, the luncheon will take place at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The UA Arthritis Center has partnered with the UA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to host the 2015 Desert Diamond/University of Arizona Arthritis Center Bear Down Luncheon.

Tracy Shake, program coordinator for outreach and education at the UA Arthritis Center, said this partnership dates back 28 years and the goal has been to benefit the UAAC and its research efforts to help find a cure for arthritis.

This partnership has raised more than $1.7 million for the UA Arthritis Center since the early 1980s, according to a press release.

The luncheon will have an intimate setting at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar on North Campbell Avenue, which is typically not open to the public for lunch. The event is already sold out with 100 people planning to attend, Shake said.

Rich Rodriguez, UA football head coach, and Greg Byrne, UA vice president of athletics, will return as keynote speakers at the luncheon this year.

“The reason we call it the Bear Down Luncheon is because it gives our supporters an opportunity to learn about UA Athletics,” Shake said. “They talk a lot about the current state of athletics across the nation, throughout the NCAA, and then Rich typically gives an overview of the past season and then what’s upcoming, what he’s seeing in spring football, and what people might be looking forward to in the fall season.”

Shake said Rita Rodriguez, Rich Rodriguez’s wife, is a member of the UA Arthritis Center advisory board, and she will be attending the luncheon along with her husband.

“I think what makes it overall such a special event is the personal connection that is with the Rodriguezes, because Rita is a member of our board and knows what it’s like firsthand to live with one of the more common forms of arthritis,” Shake said. “It really brings the message home. It gives the people in the audience and opportunity to see that this is a partnership that is felt on a personal level.”


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