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Celebrity Philanthropy News

great sport legends dinner

23rd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to Cure Paralysis - NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Marc Buoniconti (C), his father Nick Buoniconti (L) and former tennis star Andre Agassi attend the 23rd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to Cure Paralysis at the Waldorf Astoria on September 22, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for The Miami Project)







Emceed by Bob Costas, Joe Gibbs, Helio Castroneves, Richard “Goose” Gossage, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Angelo Dundee, Gabrielle Reece, Jerry Rice,

Andre Agassi and Scottie Pippen Honored



NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc hosted a sold out event, the 23rd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner, at the Waldorf=Astoria to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.  They were joined by sports heroes, philanthropic icons and business leaders who were out in full force to support paralysis research.  The 2008 Great Sports Legend honorees were Jerry Rice, Andre Agassi, Scottie Pippen, Joe Gibbs, Helio Castroneves, Richard “Goose” Gossage, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Angeleo Dundee and Gabrielle Reece.  South Florida philanthropist Christine Lynn received The Buoniconti Fund Award. Special guest and emcee was sports broadcaster and Buoniconti Fund supporter, Bob Costas.  The evening raised over $7 million for the spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.


 “This dinner and the support we continue to receive from the best of the best in sports, business, entertainment and philanthropy continues to raise my spirits and that of the researchers at The Miami Project.  In turn, that support fuels research and raises the spirits of the millions worldwide who live daily with paralysis because we know that, with clinical trials on the horizon, the day will soon come when they will be raised up from their wheelchairs to walk side by side with us again,” said an emotional Nick Buoniconti.


The Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored an All Star roster of athletes who have been recognized for their outstanding athletic achievements and has helped raise millions of dollars for the spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.  The dinner has become known for uniting individuals from the sports, business and entertainment industries. Close to 1,400 people attended this year’s gala event.


Other notables in attendance included Olympian swimmers, Janet Evans, 2008 gold medalist Natalie Coughlin and silver medalist Margaret Hoelzer; Olympic gold medalists Carlos Boozer from the Utah Jazz; big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton; New York Giants  Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss and Shaun O’Hara; sportscaster Lesley Visser; Star of “Friday Night Lights” Brad Leland; Former Olympic swimmer Gary Hall, Jr.; GM of the New York Mets, Omar Minaya; from the syndicated court television show Judge David Young and dozens of others.


The live auction was an exciting moment with six-figure bids for several dream packages, including a Sub-Orbital Space Adventure for $120,000 and a Golf Invitational with Jack Nicklaus for $200,000.  The live auction raised a total of $550,000 for the organization. 


Over the course of the past twenty-three years, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored 244 of the world’s greatest athletes and individuals. They are recognized for their contributions to the world of sports and acknowledged for their commitment to high ethical standards, dedication to their community, worthy causes and achievements as positive role models.


History:  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 largest, most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center and is housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project's international team of over 200 scientists 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.  The Buoniconti Fund serves as the national fundraising arm of The Miami Project. It is designed to complement the scientific accomplishments of The Miami Project by generating funds and high levels of awareness.



                        The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

                              Scott Roy at (305) 243-8939 /                        





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