Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 13:14 EDT

27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner Raises Nearly $18 Million For The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis

September 25, 2012

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Celebrities, sports legends, corporate leaders and more, joined NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc, as they hosted an inspiring, sold-out crowd of more than 1400 guests, in celebration of the 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner. Held at New York’s famed Waldorf=Astoria, the dinner paid tribute to philanthropic heroes and sports icons that inspire and motivate those affected by spinal cord injuries and raised nearly $18 million. Once again hosted by NBC sports icon Bob Costas, the event assembled notable and influential figures to support the efforts of The Buoniconti Fund and honor this year’s Great Sports Legends: Shaquille O’Neal, Joe Torre, Marshall Faulk, Tony Perez, Mark Martin, Lisa Leslie, Jake LaMotta and Lorena Ochoa.

Famed NBA Player and NBA Championship Winner, Alonzo Mourning, was presented with The Buoniconti Fund Award and Grammy Winning Musician and Producer, Emilio Estefan, was honored with The Outstanding Business Leader Award.

“For twenty seven years, our researchers at The Miami Project have made great discoveries and significant strides, resulting from the funds raised each year at the Great Sports Legends Dinner,” said Nick Buoniconti, founder of The Buoniconti Fund. “I am overwhelmed and humbled by the compassion and support for this cause which is so meaningful to my family and me. Through this event and the efforts of the organization, our researchers now have the means to conduct the first-ever, FDA-approved, human clinical trial using the patient’s own Schwann cells – paving the way to find a cure for paralysis.”

Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 283 sports legends and honorees, uniting individuals in the sports, business and entertainment worlds. To date, the annual event has raised nearly $93 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord industry research programs.

Other notables in attendance included: actor Danny Glover, NBA legend Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier, boxer Laila Ali, Olympian Jordan Burroughs, talk show host Wendy Williams, Olympian Bonnie Blair, Brad Leland from Friday Night Lights, Olympian Gary Hall, Jr., NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson, Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, 1980 Miracle on Ice Team Captain Mike Eruzione, NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Actor Dean Winters, and many more.

The annual live auction, which raises additional funds for the organization, offered an exciting opportunity to secure exclusive items, such as the opportunity to golf with the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia, dazzling jewelry, impressive travel packages and more.

Sponsors for the evening included Diageo, United Airlines, HBO Sports, Tiffany & Co. and Barton G.

Images from the 27(th) Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner can be found at: www.gettyimages.com

For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, please visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

For media inquiries, please contact: 5W Public Relations.

About The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund: In 1985, NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti and Barth A. Green, M.D. 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 research center, and a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project’s international team is housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center and includes more than 250 scientists, researchers and clinicians 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, like our FDA approved Schwann cell transplantation trial. The Miami Project is well positioned and confident that we have the expertise, knowledge and drive to continue to navigate through the process and initiate new clinical trials. Since its inception, The Miami Project has worked carefully and diligently towards these goals and the results show that the time is right to continue to make these important steps into humans. For more information, please visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com.

SOURCE Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis

Source: PR Newswire