I wanted to introduce you all to an organization called PANDA – People Acting Now Discover Answers.  This is a Phoenix based group of women whose mission is to support discovery processes that lead to improved treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases. PANDA raises awareness and private funding for the Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona.

All in all they have raised over $4.5 million dollars for Steele since they began their organization in the 1980’s.  WOW


This organization is a beautiful example of the commitment of friendship as these women continue to do what they do in loving memory Michael Thomas who lost his life in the early 80’s to Leukemia.  They came together with strong friendships and continue to fight for children with devastating diseases.  It is yet another love story.  Their organization is absolutely incredible raising between 400,000 and 500,000 per year by throwing an annual “Children helping Children Fashion Show”.  This year I had the privilege of being invited to attend this event by a friend and PANDA member Sarah Carlenzoli. 


It was so wonderful for me to see this level of fundraising effort and achievement as Steven and I begin to brainstorm Wylder Nation Foundation fundraisers in our near future.  It was absolutely picture perfect and filled with good energy and a unified effort (oh, and darling kiddos).  It was a beautiful example for me to see and so I studied every part of what they did. 

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As I browsed through the isles and isles of donated auction gifts I came across one in particular that took my breath away. 


Standing before me was a beautiful kid’s boat bed.  Being just days before Wylder’s 4th birthday I called Steven and let him know this would 100% be Wylder’s birthday present if he was here.  As I found myself pulling a knot out of my throat, reminding myself I was at a public event, I walked away from the boat.  Then just a few minutes later I got a text from Steven that said we should bid on it knowing we would most likely be outbid, but that that was okay … as we believed in where the proceeds were going.  Much to our surprise and happiness at end of the event we learned Wylder got the boat! YEAH! I guess it was just meant to be.  100% of the proceeds went to PANDA and it stands loud and proud in Wylder’s playroom now. 


Just another “reminder” that sweet Wylder was right by my side that afternoon.  Congratuatulations on your success and achievements PANDA.  We believe in you and your cause and commitment to Michael and understand that all too well.  You are making him very proud and changing the outcome of other family’s lives in his honor.  We know all to well that that may never feel like enough in your hearts, but for the families you continue to help … it is pricess.  This year for their 14th annual fashion show “Under the Big Top” PANDA successfully raised 475,000 with an emphasis this year supporting auto immune disease.  Thank you for sharing this day with me Sarah … for inviting me and believing in all things Wylder.  It was a wonderful afternoon for me and a beautiful success story for me to see.  Wylder, thank you for showing me the way and we hope you looooveee your boat … now we will think of a special name for your boat. 

Enjoy this slideshow showing what the event was like last month.  WARNING:  Cute kiddos everywhere!! 



  1. Cathy Johnson says:

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing, Shannon. I am awed at how Wylder keeps leading his Mommy and Daddy in the wonderful work they do! It’s all pretty amazing! xoxoxo

  2. Sarah Carlenzoli says:


    Wylder ON!

    We are here to support you and Steven!

    Thank you for spreading the word about PANDA!

    YOUR family is inspiration for US!

  3. that was amazing! what a great group and organization! I would love to help you with fundraising for Wylder’s foundation when its time, I am soo proud of you guys and the future you have for rare disease. I LOVE Wylder’s boat, my boys would go crazy for that boat bed, I know Wylder is loving it too:) xoxo, Chelsea

    • Mommy and Daddy says:

      Thank you Chelsea!! Your boys would LOVE this boat …. most super cool kids bed ever! xoxo

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