(Feb. 19, 2013) – Cody Unser, who was diagnosed with transverse myelitis at the age of 12, will be the keynote speaker for the PARTNERS 2013 “Share the Care” Spring Luncheon on Wednesday, April 24 at 11:30 a.m. at the River Oaks Country Club, 1600 River Oaks Blvd. Proceeds from the event, honoring philanthropist Jan Duncan, benefit programs and services for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing.
At age 13, Unser founded the Cody Unser First Step Foundation in hopes of raising awareness and funds to find a cure for paralysis. Over the years Unser’s battle with transverse myelitis has inspired others and sparked her advocacy for nervous system research. She founded Cody’s Great Scuba Adventures as a way to encourage the research while providing training and certification for disabled veterans through the military branch of the program.
In addition to speaking at the PARTNERS luncheon, Unser plans to visit the School of Nursing to show her documentary “Cody: The First Step” to the nursing students. The film includes footage taken at the University of Redlands in California, where she earned a degree in biopolitics, and a closer look at her foundation’s innovative scuba study. A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Unser now travels the country raising awareness for paralyzed persons while striving to improve their quality of life.
Jan Duncan, a PARTNERS lifetime member, will be honored during the luncheon for her service to the UTHealth School of Nursing and nursing education. Jan, her late husband Dan, and their family have worked to aid those who are suffering by helping to establish the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, the Dan Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Jan also serves on the Texas Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees and the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors.
PARTNERS stands for “Promoting Advancement Resources To Nursing Education, Research and Students.” The organization was established in 1994 to offer support and encouragement to students and faculty of the School of Nursing through scholarships, endowments, faculty research grants and student services. To date, the organization holds a $1.5-million endowment to support its projects.
The luncheon is PARTNERS’ largest annual fund-raising activity. This year’s Master of Ceremonies is three-time Emmy award winner and HoustonPBS anchor/producer Ernie Manouse.
Last year, PARTNERS awarded nearly $56,000 in support of research by four faculty members and committed more than $148,300 in funding new scholarships in each degree-granting program. Among other major contributions, PARTNERS supplies the traditional silver nursing pins each year for the Bachelor of Science Pinning Ceremony.
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