Tag Archive | "The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis"

Propelled by Gratitude, Twice-Paralyzed Hockey Player Rides for The Miami Project

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Propelled by Gratitude, Twice-Paralyzed Hockey Player Rides for The Miami Project


Special to UM News

Smith.MiamiProject2

Surrounding Marc Buoniconti, seated, are, from left, Teague Egan, Tom Smith, Chris Smith, John McCarthy and Barth A. Green, M.D.

MIAMI, Fla. (May 28, 2015)— Tom Smith, a twice-paralyzed former hockey player, rode 2,100 miles from Massachusetts to The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the Miller School of Medicine last month, concluding his 38-day Reality Ride Challenge to raise funds and awareness for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs, which he credit for his recovery.

“The Reality Ride Challenge is a testament to what great doctors and therapists can do for someone with paralysis,” said Smith. “My goal is to build this ride into a fundraising platform to help The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis expedite the process of finding a cure so that everyone in a wheelchair can have the same opportunity to recover that I had.”

Smith, a former patient of Barth A. Green, M.D., the chair of neurological surgery and co-founder of The Miami Project, was first paralyzed in August of 2008 during an intense hockey play but was able to walk again after receiving treatment and therapy at The Miami Project. A similar injury occurred at another hockey game in 2009. Upon recovering, Smith decided he wanted to give back. With the Reality Ride Challenge his team raised $100,000 for The Miami Project’s paralysis research programs.

“What Tom and his team have been able to accomplish through the Reality Ride on behalf of The Miami Project is nothing short of remarkable,”said Miami Project President Marc Buoniconti. “Their determination to make this a reality in order to help others devastated by paralysis is admirable and we are proud to call them our friends.”

The ride left from Boston on March 25, with each day consisting of  65 miles on a bicycle, two miles in a sitting wheelchair bike, and one mile walking. The ride, which traced Smith’s path from his accident in Massachusetts to his recovery at The Miami Project, was also a brutal test of physical endurance and mental fortitude.

At The Miami Project’s research facility, Buoniconti and Green led a welcoming party with dozens of well-wishers that included family, friends, and researchers.

The Reality Ride Challenge is symbolic for riding and walking for those who cannot, said Smith, who completed the distance with advisor Teague Egan and others who joined for segments along the way.

Smith said that he is a “living, breathing, walking example of how the world-class doctors, scientists, physical therapists and nurses at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis improve the daily lives of those living with paralysis.”

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An Unbreakable Bond Makes World Debut at Miami International Film Festival


By Scott Roy
Special to UM News

Unbreakable-Bond

At the film debut, from left, Tom Brokaw, Barth Green, M.D., Nick Buoniconti, Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, and Bob Costas.

MIAMI, Fla. (March 14, 2014)—A star-studded roster of attendees came out for the world debut of An Unbreakable Bond, a film by Emilio Estefan that documents the relationship between NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, his son Marc, and their nearly three-decade struggle to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.  Read the full story

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UM/Jackson Surgeons Perform First Combination Nerve Graft to Repair Severed Sciatic Nerve


Allan Levi, M.D., Ph.D., center, discusses the historic surgery performed on Danielle Press, far left, who is seated with her parents, Charles Press and Lourdes Mangas, as Gabriel Ruiz, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, and Fernando Vilella, M.D., assistant professor of orthoapedics, look on.

Allan Levi, center, professor of neurological surgery, discusses the historic surgery performed on Danielle Press, far left, who is seated with her parents, Charles Press and Lourdes Mangas, as Gabriel Ruiz, assistant professor of surgery, and Fernando Vilella, assistant professor of orthoapedics, look on.

When Danielle Press was severely injured in a boating accident off Key Biscayne and rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center the afternoon of September 14, she never dreamed she’d make medical history. But a month after her accident, Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital surgeons performed the world’s first nerve graft using a combination of Press’ own nerve and Schwann cells to repair her severely injured sciatic nerve.

The UM/Jackson team who saved Danielle’s life and performed the historic procedure gathered with the 26-year-old and her parents October 29 to share her story with news media. Sitting in a wheelchair with her left leg immobilized, Danielle said the details of the accident remain a blur, but she now “takes every day as a gift.” Her father, Charles Press, chief of the Key Biscayne Police Department, credited first responders and the “fantastic team of doctors” at UM/Jackson. “To this day,” he said, “we know that’s why she has survived to now.” Read the full story

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The Miami Project’s Mary Bartlett Bunge Elected to Institute of Medicine


Mary Bartlett Bunge is the sixth UM faculty member to be elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Mary Bartlett Bunge is the sixth UM faculty member to be elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, neurological surgery and neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, an extraordinary honor that reflects the height of professional achievement and commitment to service in health and medicine.

Bunge, who joined the UM faculty 24 years ago, has worked for nearly four decades on the Schwann cell, which she and her late husband, Richard Bunge, M.D., determined to be a key to helping repair damaged spinal cords. Her work with Schwann cells has led to numerous discoveries and is now central to The Miami Project’s phase one clinical trial to evaluate the safety of transplanting the Schwann cells of recently paralyzed patients into the site of their injury. This work will serve as a foundation for future cell replacement and regeneration trials at The Miami Project. Read the full story

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Iconic Sports Figures Gather to Raise Funds for Spinal Cord Injury Research

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Iconic Sports Figures Gather to Raise Funds for Spinal Cord Injury Research


Nick Buoniconti, left, and his son Marc, center, are surrounded by honorees and leaders at the 28th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner.

Nick Buoniconti, left, and his son Marc, center, are surrounded by honorees and leaders at the 28th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner.

Donations totaling $3.2 million from two well-known philanthropists will help fund a new round of human Schwann cell clinical trials as well as provide much-needed support for spinal cord injury research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

The impromptu gifts were made September 30 during the 28th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York—an event at which some of the greatest sports legends of our time joined celebrities, corporate leaders, and others to help raise funds for the comprehensive spinal cord injury research center dedicated to finding a cure to paralysis. Read the full story

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