Dinner to Benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
NBC's Brian Williams to Serve as Master of Ceremonies; Broadway's "Jersey Boys" to Perform Live
NEW YORK, July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, will host its 28th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on Monday, September 30, 2013. Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, will serve as Master of Ceremonies of the dinner, which honors philanthropic heroes and sports legends that inspire and motivate those affected by spinal cord injuries.
The annual event, hosted by Nick and Marc Buoniconti and chaired by Mark Dalton, benefits The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and raises funds to support the ground-breaking spinal cord injury research done by researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 283 sports legends and honorees and has raised nearly $93 million for The Miami Project's spinal cord injury research programs.
The celebration assembles sports legends, celebrities, philanthropic icons and corporate leaders to support the efforts of the Buoniconti family, along with numerous longtime supporters. The 2013 Great Sports Legends include:
- Terry Bradshaw – Former NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in a six year period, as well as eight AFC Central Championships. Bradshaw is now the TV analyst and co-host for FOX NFL Sunday.
- James Worthy – Named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Worthy was a seven-time NBA All-Star, three-time NBA champion and the 1988 NBA Finals MVP. Worthy now serves as a TV analyst for the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Dave Winfield – Former NY Yankee, seven time Gold Glove Award winner, 1992 World Series Champion, and twelve time All-Star, ESPN named Winfield the third-best all-around athlete of all time in any sport. He is a member of both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Currently, Winfield serves as Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor to the San Diego Padres, as well as a TV analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight.
- Nick Faldo – Top professional golfer, who has won six major championships – three British Open championships and three Masters, he was formerly ranked No. 1 on the Official World Golf Rankings, and is now TV golf analyst for CBS and the Golf Channel.
- Shawn Johnson – 2008 U.S. Olympic gymnast, who won the gold medal for balance beam and team, all-around, in addition to the silver medals for floor.
- Gary Stevens – A member of the Racing Hall of Fame, Stevens has been in the winner's circle three times each at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. He has won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times, as well as eight Breeder's Cup races. Stevens currently works at NBC Sports as a horse racing analyst.
- Antron Brown – American drag racer, known for winning the Top Fuel National Hot Rod Association championship. He is the sport's first African American champion.
- Teresa Edwards – Former WNBA player and coach, who was placed within Sports Illustrated's "100 Greatest Female Athletes of the 20th Century" and competed in both the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics. Edwards now serves as a TV analyst for NBC Sports.
Honorees for the evening include:
- Jim Kelly – Hall of Fame quarterback, four-time AFC champion and Pro Bowl player, will receive the 2013 Inspiration Award.
- Kenny Smith – Two-time NBA champion player and NBA TV analyst will receive The 2013 Buoniconti Fund Award.
- The dinner also will feature a performance by Broadway's "Jersey Boys."
"Every 48 minutes, someone in the U.S. is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, reinforcing that it can happen to anyone at any time," said Nick Buoniconti, Founder of The Buoniconti Fund. "We need to continue to raise awareness and focus on the research to find a cure for paralysis. We are so honored that so many legendary athletes and influential figures are joining The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in this fight. Paralysis does not discriminate and, together, we need to stand up for those who cannot."
Past "Legend Alumni" and Honorees have included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Andre Agassi, Troy Aikman, Buzz Aldrin, Muhammad Ali, Mario Andretti, Dr. Maya Angelou, Charles Barkley, Tom Brokaw, Joe DiMaggio, Gloria Estefan, Marshall Faulk, George Foreman, Wayne Gretzky, Dorothy Hamill, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Evander Holyfield, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Nancy Kerrigan, Lennox Lewis, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Jack Nicklaus, Roger Penske, Mike Piazza, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry Rice, Pat Riley, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bill Russell, Kelly Slater, Joe Torre, Dara Torres, and many other heroes who recognize that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and everyday lives.
The event is not only expected to sell out, but also raise millions of dollars for the spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The evening will begin with cocktails and a Buy It Now Store where attendees can purchase one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia, amazing jewelry, spectacular getaways, a unique Kidz Korner and other exclusive items. There will be a live auction boasting travel and entertainment packages, sports and music memorabilia, and experiences including the opportunity to golf with the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, and an Iconic New York Package presented by Tiffany & Co.
Tickets start at $850 per person and can be purchased by phone at (305)-243-4656 or http://www.thebuonicontifund.com/GSLD. Sponsorships and opportunities to sit with legends are also available.
About The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund: 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. Today, The Miami Project, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center and is housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center. The Miami Project's international team of more than 250 scientists, researchers and clinicians take innovative approaches to the challenge of spinal cord 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. For more information, please visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com.
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SOURCE The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis