UA Arthritis Center and UA Athletics Team Up For 2015 Desert Diamond Bear Down Luncheon, April 16

Mar 27, 2015
UA Vice President for Athletics Greg Byrne and UA head football Coach Rich Rodriguez will be guest speakers at the event, which benefits research to identify the causes, improve the diagnosis and treatment and find cures for the more than 100 forms of arthritis.

Whether you’re a sports professional or a weekend warrior, a fan watching from the sidelines or someone with no interest in sports at all, you probably are aquainted with joint pain, perhaps even arthritis.

Combating arthritis, the most debilitating disease in society today, requires a team effort – and that’s why the University of Arizona Arthritis Center is teaming up with the UA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for the game-changing 2015 Desert Diamond/University of Arizona Arthritis Center Bear Down Luncheon, to benefit the UA Arthritis Center (UAAC) and its research efforts to find a cure for arthritis.

This unique event, sponsored by Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, will be held Thursday, April 16, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 6360 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson.

Since it began in the early 1980s, the UAAC partnership with Arizona Wildcat athletics has raised more than $1.7 million for the UAAC, a leader in the development of some of the first artificial joints as well as state-of-the-art arthritis treatments that have benefited patients in Arizona and nationwide. Current UAAC research includes studies of biomarkers that indicate early stages of osteoarthritis and preventive treatments that can affect its progression. The UAAC also has embarked on research into the effects of Valley Fever on patients with rheumatic disease, and continues studies of cartilage regeneration as well as the links between gut microbiota (microorganisms in the intestines), the immune system and the development of arthritis.

The partnership continues today with UAAC Director C. Kent Kwoh, MD, and UA Vice President for Athletics Greg Byrne. Byrne, who is active on both the Pacific-12 Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association levels, will enlighten luncheon guests with the latest news in athletics, both locally and throughout the NCAA.

Joining Byrne as keynote speaker will be UA head football Coach Rich Rodriguez, whose life has been touched personally by arthritis: his wife Rita, “the first lady of Wildcat Football,” has fought rheumatoid arthritis for more than a decade. With her first-hand knowledge of the battles fought by those suffering from any of the more than 100 forms of arthritis, Rita brings to light the collective efforts of the UAAC and the UA athletics department. As a member of the UAAC Advisory Board and the close-knit UAAC family, every day she represents the goals and hopes of UAAC as it conducts cutting-edge research to fight the pain of arthritis and find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Tickets to the Bear Down Luncheon are $100 per person ($58 tax deductible) or $550 for a table of six ($300 tax deductible). The Silver Supporter package is $1,000 ($915 tax deductible) and includes two tickets to the luncheon plus signage on each table and podium recognition; the Gold Supporter package is $2,500 ($2,250 tax deductible) and includes six tickets with signage on each table and podium recognition.

For reservations or more information, please call the UA Arthritis Center, 520-626-3618. The deadline for reservations is April 13.


The University of Arizona Arthritis Center, a Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, is a research leader with a focus on identifying the causes of arthritis and developing improved diagnosis, measurement and treatment of the disease. For more information, please visit


Original Story Link: