NEW YORK, Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis will honor a group of prominent Sports Legends and Honorees when it hosts its 30th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. The annual event, hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc, and chaired by Mark Dalton, raises funds to support the ground-breaking spinal cord injury research done by researchers at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis – the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, which is based at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. NBC News Icon Tom Brokaw will serve as Master of Ceremonies and the event will feature live performances by The Beach Boys and The Pointer Sisters.
The 2015 Great Sports Legends include Jorge Posada, Karl Malone, Ray Lewis, John Stockton, Michelle Kwan, Victor Espinoza, Jennifer Capriati and Chip Ganassi. Honorees for the evening include Gloria and Emilio Estefan who will receive The Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award, and Humanitarian Award recipients Orianne and Phil Collins.
The celebration assembles sports legends, celebrities, philanthropic icons and corporate leaders to support the efforts of The Buoniconti Fund Board of Directors and numerous longtime benefactors. Tickets start at $850 per person and can be purchased by phone at (305)-243-4656 or http://www.thebuonicontifund.com/GSLD.
The 2015 Great Sports Legends include:
- Jorge Posada – Former catcher for 17 seasons with the New York Yankees and a five-time World Series champion.
- Karl Malone – Nicknamed "The Mailman," Malone is a NBA Hall of Famer, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and was a power forward for 18 seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.
- Ray Lewis – Lewis is a future Hall of Famer and is considered one of the greatest ever to play middle linebacker in the NFL. He played his entire 17-year career for the Baltimore Ravens, was Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003 and two-time Super Bowl Champion.
- John Stockton – Stockton is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, and is regarded as one of the best point guards of all time. He holds the NBA records for most career assists and steals and played his entire career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz.
- Michelle Kwan – Widely considered one of the greatest figure skaters of all time, Kwan is a two-time (1998 and 2002) Olympic medalist, a five-time (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003) World champion and a nine-time (1996, 1998–2005) U.S. champion (tied for the all-time record).
- Victor Espinoza – The first jockey in history to enter the Belmont Stakes with a third opportunity to win the Triple Crown, finally winning that elusive honor this year on American Pharaoh, becoming the oldest jockey and first Hispanic jockey to win the award.
- Jennifer Capriati – A former World No. 1 professional tennis player and International Tennis Hall of Fame member, Capriati won three women's singles championships in Grand Slam tournaments and a Gold Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
- Chip Ganassi – A former American racing driver, Ganassi is the owner and CEO of Chip Ganassi Racing, which operates teams on the IndyCar Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and Tudor United SportsCar Championship. He has been involved with the North American auto racing scene for more than 30 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as most innovative owners.
Honorees for the evening include:
- The Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award Recipients, Gloria and Emilio Estefan– Twenty-six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning power couple Emilio and Gloria Estefan, whose highly-anticipated biographical musical On Your Feet! starts performances on Broadway October 5, will receive this year's Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award. One of the most celebrated couples in music, Gloria and Emilio Estefan know the importance of giving back to the community founded the Gloria Estefan Foundation, aimed at reaching those who struggle outside the safeguards of society by promoting good health, education, and cultural development. Following her own brush with paralysis Gloria teamed up with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in 1994 and served as the capital campaign director of The Miami Project's new building campaign that raised more than $40 million.
- Humanitarian Award Recipients, Orianne and Phil Collins– Phil Collins is one of the most successful songwriters and performers of all time. Collins had dozens of hit albums and singles in the UK and the US between 1976 and 2010, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. He is one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the 1980s and beyond. Phil and Orianne are co-founder of the Little Dreams Foundation (LDF), an international charity which fulfills the dreams of young aspiring talents without financial means to achieve their goals. The LDF helps children thrive by supporting them with personalized training and supervision in music, arts and sports by godparent mentors, providing them with optimal opportunity for success, and potentially advance toward a professional career in the field of their true passion. In order to reach its mission, LDF is helped by numerous godparents, sponsors and technical advisors. Orianne is a jewelry designer and philanthropist and serves as chairman of the Little Dreams Foundation.
"For 30 years The Miami Project has provided real hope to those living with paralysis. 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. "Paralysis does not discriminate, a spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at any time, so we must continue to raise awareness and funds to support research that will ultimately lead to a cure for paralysis. We are honored that so many legendary athletes and influential figures continue to help us stand up for those who cannot."
Our "Legend Alumni" and Honorees include Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Tony Hawk, 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, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dan Marino, Mike Piazza, Pat Riley, Grant Hill, Bill Cowher, Kelly Slater, Joe Torre and many other athletes and heroes who recognize that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and everyday lives.
The 30th anniversary event is expected to sell out and raise millions of dollars for the spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 300 sports legends and honorees and has raised more than $100 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.
Sponsorships and opportunities to sit with legends are also available. The evening will begin with cocktails, then a performance by The Pointer Sisters, followed by dinner and a performance by The Beach Boys and then the awards presentation. For more information about The Buoniconti Fund and to take part in the conversation on social media, please visit Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtags #CureParalysis and #GSLD30.
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 is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury (SCI) research center, and a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project's international team includes more than 300 scientists, researchers, clinicians and support staff who take innovative approaches to the challenges of brain and 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.
The Miami Project's Christine E. Lynn Clinical Trials Initiative is designed to take discoveries found to be successful in laboratory studies and fast track them to human studies. The Miami Project team currently has five FDA approved SCI clinical trials underway. Our FDA approved Schwann cell transplantation trial, the only one of its kind in the world, is changing the spinal cord injury field and sets an important foundation for future Miami Project cell replacement therapies.
Miami Project researchers 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. Because of our clinical and research expertise, The Miami Project is confident that we have the knowledge and resolve to initiate additional clinical trials that will help us continue to responsibly and safely take these important steps into humans. For more information, please visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com.
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SOURCE The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis