Great Sports Legends Dinner to Support Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
An iconic group of Sports Legends, Hall of Famers, Gold Medalists, World Champions, and other honorees will be recognized by The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, at its 32nd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner presented by Tudor Group on Monday, September 25, at The New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.
The premier event, hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc, will honor legendary designated hitter and first baseman for the Boston Red Sox David “Big Papi” Ortiz, four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles, NBA Hall of Famer and former Miami Heat forward Alonzo Mourning, Hall of Fame defensive end and linebacker for the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets Jason Taylor, four-time IndyCar Racing Champion Scott Dixon, six-time tennis Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Abby Wambach.
Special tribute will also be paid to NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and Amy France, who will receive The Outstanding Philanthropists Award; television personality and victim rights activist John Walsh, who will receive The Inspiration Award; renowned Brazilian artist and activist Romero Britto, who will receive The Humanitarian Award; and former Miami Dolphin and longtime Buoniconti Fund champion Dick Anderson, who will receive The Buoniconti Fund Award.
This year’s event will also serve as a launch for the publication of Undefeated: From Tragedy to Triumph (Post Hill Press, September 2017), a candid, compelling and inspiring memoir by Marc Buoniconti recounting his days as an admittedly reckless youth and teen to the day his world changed after a paralyzing football injury while in college, and how he has dedicated his life since to helping others, and to finding a cure for paralysis.
NBC Sports personality Bob Costas will serve as emcee for the event, which annually attracts more than 1,500 sports legends, celebrities, philanthropists, corporate leaders and other influential New Yorkers. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Chicago will perform live at the event.
“For over 31 years the Great Sports Legend Dinner has supported a singular essential mission, finding a cure for paralysis,” said Buoniconti Fund founder Nick Buoniconti. “This event has raised funds and awareness for groundbreaking, much-needed spinal cord injury research, as well as cutting-edge treatment programs. We’re honored to have the generosity and participation of so many iconic athletes and heroes who join us in providing hope for those living with paralysis, so together we can stand as one.”
The event, which is chaired by Mark Dalton, benefits The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The Miami Project, a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 300 sports legends and honorees and has helped The Buoniconti Fund raise more than $350 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs. The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, through the research efforts of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, is committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again.
Sports Legends alumni include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Willie Mays, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Tony Hawk, Tommy Lee Jones, Cal Ripken, Jr., Gloria Estefan, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, George Foreman, Julio Iglesias, Helio Castroneves, Troy Aikman, Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Joe Namath, Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dan Marino, Lenny Wilkens, Mike Piazza, Pat Riley, Kelly Slater, Phil Collins, Joe Torre, Maya Angelou, Andre Agassi, Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Brokaw, and many other athletes and heroes – all of whom recognize that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and everyday lives.
The 32nd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner on Monday, September 25, begins at 5:30 p.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Tickets start at $850 per person and can be purchased by phone at 305-243-4656 or http://www.themiamiproject.org/.
For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, please visit www.thebuonicontifund.com. To take part in the conversation on social media follow us at facebook.com/cureparalysis, or twitter.com/BuonicontiFund, using the hashtags #SportsLegendsDinner and #BuonicontiFund.
About The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is considered the premier investigative research program conducting cutting edge discovery, translational, and clinical investigations targeting spinal cord and brain injuries. The Miami Project’s international team includes more than 200 scientists, researchers, clinicians, and support staff who take innovative approaches to the challenges of spinal cord and brain injuries.
The Miami Project’s clinical trial program currently includes autologous Schwann cell transplantation, therapeutic hypothermia, Riluzole, deep brain stimulation, and brain/machine interface. Our discovery program is investigating immune modulation, scar formation, and regeneration mechanisms after injury to better enable development of future interventions.
In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D., and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick’s son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Since then research at The Miami Project has changed the landscape of knowledge and therapeutic strategies for spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again, the Buoniconti family established The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in 1992, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting The Miami Project achieve its national and international goals.