Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation news 2010-06-23

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation June News It Was a Very Gala Evening! SSPF'S 11th ANNUAL RACING TO RECOVERY GALA: Hundreds of People Raise Thousands of Dollars to Fund Paralysis Research and Quality of Life Programs Sparkling, Vegas-Theme...

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
June News

It Was a Very Gala Evening!

SSPF'S 11th ANNUAL RACING TO RECOVERY GALA: Hundreds of People Raise Thousands of Dollars to Fund Paralysis Research and Quality of Life Programs

Sparkling, Vegas-Theme Evening Included a Live Auction, Dinner, Drivers, and a Memorable Award Ceremony

Parnelli Jones, Sam Schmidt, Ida Cahill Each year the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation plays host for a "Racing to Recovery Gala" to celebrate and recognize the achievements of the Foundation, its partners and its supporters. On a balmy night in May, hundreds of people came together to raise thousands of dollars to fund research to help discover a cure for paralysis and to help those with disabling spinal cord injuries. (To see photos of this year's event, click here.)

Some of IndyCar's most well-known current drivers attended the Foundation's Gala this year, including Townsend Bell, Alex Tagliani, Ryan Briscoe, Will Power, Alex Lloyd, Jay Howard, Ana Beatriz, Buddy Lazier, James Hinchcliff, Gustavo Yacaman, Wade Cunningham, J.K. Vernay, Pippa Mann, Philip Major, and Arie Luyendyck, Jr. Guests also had a unique opportunity to chat with racing greats Parnelli Jones, Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser and Arie Luyendyck, Sr.

With due ceremony, this year's Legendary Driver Award was presented to one of the true legends in racing, Parnelli Jones. Said Sam, "This evening is very special to me and every racing fan in attendance. Parnelli is one of the most recognizable names in auto racing and has won nearly every major auto race event in the U.S., including the Indy 500. What makes Parnelli such a legend is the diversity of vehicles in which he won races and championships." Legendary driver award Said Ida Cahill, President and CEO of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, "It was wonderful to see an outpouring of support from the IZOD IndyCar family and the many individuals and families who support our event each year. It is because of them that the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation continues to lead the way to find a cure for paralysis that impacts almost six million people in the United States. Thank you to everyone."

Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock, Board member of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and long-time friend of Schmidt, delivered an inspirational keynote address on the importance of making a difference in the lives of those with spinal cord injuries. The program included a video featuring local spinal cord injury survivors and their families discussing the realities of living with paralysis and how it affects them on a daily basis. Those featured in the video, VIP guests for the evening, were invited up on stage. Through telling their stories, they highlighted the importance of the Foundation's vision and mission, and how vital the contributions of the Foundation's supporters are to fulfilling that vision - to find a permanent cure for paralysis.

Live and silent auctions at the event included vacations, jewelry, wines, framed artwork, sports and racing memorabilia signed by highly regarded sports figures, IndyCar and NASCAR drivers. During the evening, renowned motorsports artist Bill Patterson created a live painting, which brought lots of excitement at the auction, especially after Indy Car drivers in attendance put their "mark" on it. Live painting SSPF is leading the charge to cure paralysis by funding scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technological advances, benefiting stroke victims and people diagnosed with ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. In addition to initiating local and national advocacy efforts on behalf of those disabled, SSPF funds various quality of life grants to organizations, provides college scholarships for people with spinal cord injuries/paralysis, funds national Day at the Races and Run, Walk 'N Wheelathon programs. The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation is a member of the Spinal Cord Leaders Council.

Coming Up Soon!

The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation will team up with Shoot For a Cure for the second annual Honda Indy Toronto Walk Run 'N Wheel-a-thon, to be held in downtown Toronto on Thursday, July 15, 2010 in support of spinal cord injury research. On the eve of the Honda Indy Toronto, participants and families will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do a 5km run, and a 2.8km walk and wheel to the finish line on a professional racetrack, just hours before the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers start their engines.

"The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation is committed to finding a cure for the loss of generalized or localized muscle function in order to better the lives of the millions of people affected by the condition," commented Ida Cahill, president of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. "These types of partnerships create the opportunity to combine resources and talent. Our association with Shoot For A Cure Moto-Sport is particularly special since racing fans will have the opportunity to actually run, walk and wheel in the tire tracks of their favorite drivers."

A victory party will take place immediately following the race at the start/finish line, where guests can take photos with the IZOD IndyCar pace vehicles and IZOD IndyCar drivers. There will be a live performance by Toronto band EZ Street, with recording artist Sara Westbook. Sara has a special connection to the event, as her husband George Westbrook broke his back as a result of a hockey accident, and was lucky to walk again thanks to advancements in spinal research.

Business teams will have the opportunity to participate in a Corporate Challenge by registering to compete against other corporations in an effort to raise money and awareness for the cause while providing the opportunity for a fun teambuilding exercise.

All proceeds will benefit the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Shoot For a Cure Moto-Sport. Additional beneficiaries include the Sunnybrook Toronto Rehab Foundations.


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Series Charity
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Townsend Bell , Sam Schmidt , Bobby Unser , Parnelli Jones , Ryan Briscoe , Alex Lloyd , Will Power , Pippa Mann , Wade Cunningham , Jay Howard , Phillip Major , Ana Beatriz , Gustavo Yacaman