CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 25, 2015) — Thirty years after NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti promised his newly paralyzed son, Marc, they would see a cure for spinal cord injuries one day, father and son are ever-closer to that goal, thanks in large part to the 30th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner they’ll host next week in New York City.
Over the past 29 years, the Sports Legends Dinners have inspired and entertained to raise incalculable awareness and more than $100 million for groundbreaking spinal cord injury research at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
NBC News icon Tom Brokaw will emcee the high-profile event at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday, October 6, when more than 1,300 celebrities and notables from entertainment, sports, and media will mark the 30th anniversary by recognizing a who’s who of sports legends and two couples who have used their talents to make a difference. This year, legends Jorge Posada, Karl Malone, Ray Lewis, John Stockton, Michelle Kwan, Victor Espinoza, Jennifer Capriati, and Chip Ganassi will be honored along with Gloria and Emilio Estefan, who will receive The Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award, and Orianne and Phil Collins, who will receive the Humanitarian Award.
“Today there is tangible evidence through our groundbreaking clinical trials that a cure for paralysis is within our grasp,” said Nick Buoniconti, founder of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis who founded The Miami Project at the Miller School of Medicine with Barth A. Green, professor and chair of neurological surgery, after Marc’s 1985 college football injury. “We are honored that so many legendary athletes and influential figures continue to help us stand up for those who cannot.”
Featuring live performances by The Beach Boys and Pointer Sisters, this year’s dinner is expected to raise millions more for The Miami Project’s research programs. The impressive roster of honorees join 300 other athletes and heroes who, over the past three decades, have been honored for raising awareness about injuries that paralyze millions worldwide and for raising funds for The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project. The world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, The Miami Project now stands at its most promising juncture.
More than 300 strong, Miami Project researchers, scientists, clinicians, and support staff are conducting or participating in more than eighteen clinical trials for spinal cord and brain injuries, and have more than a dozen clinical research studies underway, including the first FDA-approved Schwann cell transplantation trial, which is changing the spinal cord injury field and setting an important foundation for future Miami Project cell replacement therapies.
As Nick Buoniconti says, “For 30 years The Miami Project has provided real hope to those living with paralysis, and now that hope is turning into reality.”