Dwyane Wade is a three-time NBA World Champion, Finals MVP, and 13-time All-Star. Newest inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ed Reed, is a Super Bowl Champion and nine-time All-Pro. Wladimir Klitschko is one of the best Heavyweight Champion boxers of all-time and a Gold Medal winner in the 1996 Olympic Games. Christian Vieri is a professional soccer player who was named to the “FIFA 100 List of the Greatest Living Footballers” and winner of the Pichichi Trophy and Serie A Italian Footballer of the Year. Meghan Duggan is a winner of eight Gold Medals for the US Women’s Ice Hockey team in the 2014 and 2018 Olympics and Women’s World Championships. Chase Utley played for the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies team in 2008 and is a six-time baseball All-Star. Matt Biondi is a world-renowned Olympic swimmer who holds 11 medals, eight of them Gold, and is a former record-holder in the sport. Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is a former competitive swimmer and winner of six Olympic Gold Medals. While they have all excelled at their respective sports, they now join a singular iconic group. Indeed, these outstanding sports professionals, Hall of Famers, Gold Medalists, World Champions, and boldface names will be honored by The Buoniconti Fund at its 34th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner, presented by Tudor Group and the Mack family, on Monday, October 7 at The New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.
In addition to the Sports Legends, two special honorees will be conferred: Congressman Jim Langevin, who has served as the U.S. Representative from Rhode Island since 2001 and is the first quadriplegic speaker pro tempore appointed during the 116th Congress, will receive The Buoniconti Fund’s 2019 Inspiration Award. The mother-daughter team of Suzie Sayfie, recently retired as Executive Director of The Miami Project after 25 years at the helm, and Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, who served as Director of Major Gifts and Events at The Miami Project for nearly two decades, will jointly receive The Buoniconti Fund Award.
The evening will pay a special, posthumous tribute to NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, who founded The Buoniconti Fund and its research entity, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, in 1985 after his son Marc was paralyzed in a college football game. Nick Buoniconti, who passed away in July, spent the last 34 years dedicated to finding a cure for people affected by spinal cord injury, including his son and the millions of others around the world. A heartwarming and inspirational tribute will be led by Marc Buoniconti, who is hosting the dinner. The event is being chaired by Mark Dalton, and emceed by former NFL stand-out wide-receiver and NBC Sports personality Cris Collinsworth.
The dinner serves to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The Miami Project, a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, is the world’s premiere spinal cord injury research center.
Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 350 sports legends and humanitarians and has raised more than $123 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs. The Miami Project-Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis is committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again.
The dinner, presented by Tudor Group and the Mack family, annually attracts a veritable “Who’s Who” of more than 1,200 sports legends, celebrities, philanthropists, corporate leaders and other influential New Yorkers. The evening includes a spectacular auction featuring one of a kind sports items, spectacular jewelry, the latest electronics, and a Kidz Korner.
Benefactors include; The Tudor Group and The Mack family, Mark Dalton, Reed Mack, Carnival Corporation & plc, Carnival Foundation, Micky and Madeleine Arison, Pepe Badia and Badia Spices, Inc., The Gonzalez-Bunster Family, and HBO Sports.
“This year’s Legends Dinner will include another amazing line-up of sports celebrities and honorees, all coming together to help us stand up for those who can’t. The evening will be an emotional one as we pay tribute to these great individuals, but also to my dad, who has been the driving force behind our efforts since he made the promise to find a cure for paralysis to me in my hospital room 34 years ago. This evening will honor his legacy as we work to fulfill that promise to all living with paralysis,” said Marc Buoniconti, Buoniconti Fund President.
“Sports Legends Alumni” include Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Tony Hawk, Cal Ripken, Jr., Gloria Estefan, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, Alex Rodriguez, Ray Allen, 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, Venus Williams, Michael Jordan, Simone Biles, Abby Wambach, and many other athletes and heroes – all of whom recognize that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and everyday lives.
The 34th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner begins at 5:30 PM at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, 1335 6th Ave, New York City. Tickets start at $1000 per person and can be purchased by calling Jackie Manzano at (305)-243-4656 or http://bit.ly/GSLD2019. For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, please visit: http://www.TheBuonicontiFund.com. To take part in the conversation on social media, follow us at facebook.com/cureparalysis, or Twitter and Instagram @BuonicontiFund using hashtags #SportsLegendsDinner and #CureParalysis #StandUpForThoseWhoCant.