“Put together a dream with a dime and you can change time,” said Ed Orr. Incredible achievements are made possible when visionary top talent and philanthropic partners who share in that vision come together. This sentiment was echoed through the entire evening dedicated to recognizing outstanding philanthropists to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “Today, as we look to the next 20 years, we share a clear vision: delivering the finest medical care in the world, pushing the science behind that care to new horizons, and training those who will deliver it in the future,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman. “We are focused on top talent and innovation as keys to continued forward momentum.”
Nearly 500 people attended the 2020 Benefactor Recognition Dinner, an event that took place in the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on February 20.
This year’s event honored three special benefactors: Susie and Ed Orr, Annalee and Wagner, MD ’63, Schorr and Joan and Henry ’51 Strauss. Hosts for the evening included Chancellor Elliman and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital President and CEO Christopher Gessner, with special guest CU President Mark Kennedy.
The evening began with a story from Cheryl and Robert Meguid, MD, who benefited from the patient care available at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (UCH). In 2017, Dr. Meguid fell ill during a family trip to Australia. He was hospitalized, and spent weeks in intensive care before taking a 23-hour intercontinental life flight to Denver to continue his care at UCH. He was in septic shock and his kidneys were failing. He had a tracheotomy to help him breathe and his condition was critical. Today, following his intensive treatment, he is back to providing care for patients at UCH as a cardiothoracic surgeon after his team saved his life.
The 2020 honorees have all given to different areas at CU Anschutz. Susie and Ed Orr have been married for 38 years and are longstanding supports for the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes. Ed’s great-grandparents homesteaded and raised livestock near what is now Granby, Colorado, in 1883. Today, Susie and Ed spend time at the ranch and raise thoroughbred race horses. At a young age, Ed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and is now dedicated to finding a cure through innovative research.
Annalee and Wagner, MD, Schorr have been connected to CU since Wag’s time as a student. He launched his career as a nephrologist, and served as chief of medicine at Presbyterian Medical Center, president of the Medical Advisory Board for the National Kidney Foundation and clinical professor at the CU School of Medicine. Wag served nine years on the Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors, several as president, and is a former member of the School of Medicine Admissions Committee. Annalee is an accomplished artist, using unexpected objects like aluminum sheets, mirrored Mylar and duct tape to build complex geometric art. They give both their time and resources to support CU School of Medicine students and research efforts.
Joan and Henry Strauss are passionate about integrative medicine. Henry created the Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection to ensure students had access to information on integrative medicine. This special book collection in the library is one of the largest dedicated to integrative medicine in the country. As an alumnus, he also volunteers his time at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Gessner said, “While we set our sights on the horizon, we must never lose sight of our unity of purpose – transforming lives, in ways large and small, through the next research discovery, the newest therapy, the latest education and training.”
To close the evening and demonstrate that commitment to changing lives, the final story was about Amanda Campbell and her six-year-old son Brady. Amanda’s husband, Brandon, passed away in July 2019 after battling stage IV colon cancer. He received care at the CU Cancer Center and sought treatment from the palliative care team. Following his passing, Brady set up a lemonade stand to raise money to take his mom on a date. First responders and members of the community came out to support Brady is his efforts. Today, Amanda and Brady are giving back to CU Anschutz in memory of the care Brandon received during his final months.