MIAMI, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc of the The Buoniconti Fund, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, hosted an inspirational evening with more than 2,000 guests to celebrate Destination Fashion 2012. Held at Miami’s famed Bal Harbour Shops, Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour presented Emilio Pucci’s Spring 2013 Fashion Show Designed by Peter Dundas, which was followed by an interactive destination party experience and private concert by Enrique Iglesias. Tom Brokaw hosted the evening, which was chaired by Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones and International Polo Sensation Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras and raised $31 million for The Miami Project.
The staggering amount raised at the event was the result of some especially magnanimous donors who made announcements that astounded the sold-out crowd. The surprises began when Christine E. Lynn, who was being honored with the Humanitarian Award and is a Buoniconti Fund Board Member and longtime supporter, announced a gift of $25 million that would go to build state-of-the-art spinal cord injury surgical suites, surgical intensive care units and rehabilitation center. The new tower, to be called the Christine E. Lynn Tower for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, will house surgical suites, an in-patient rehabilitation hospital and rehabilitation research entities that will enhance the Miami Project’s research efforts toward finding a cure for paralysis. Buoniconti Fund Board Member Paul DiMare and his wife Swanee, who were also honored during the evening with The Buoniconti Fund Award, and Tim Gannon, Buoniconti Fund Board Member and one of the founders of Outback Steakhouse, each gave an additional $1 million to the cause.
“This collective effort from globally known celebrities and philanthropists is a remarkable testament to their commitment to The Buoniconti Fund’s efforts and the research conducted at The Miami Project,” said Nick Buoniconti, founder of The Buoniconti Fund. “Destination Fashion is an event without compare that helps promote awareness and raises funds for a cause that affects millions of people worldwide and has an economic impact in the billions of dollars. That is why it is imperative that we succeed in our mission of finding a cure for paralysis, and tonight goes a long way to helping us get there.”
The November 10th affair included the presentation of the Inspiration Award to Micky and Madeleine Arison, the Champion for a Cure Award went to Edie Laquer and the Laquer Foundation, the Humanitarian Award to Christine E. Lynn, The Buoniconti Fund Award to Paul and Swanee DiMare, and the Philanthropist Award to Beatrice and Dr. Sanford Ziff.
Following the Emilio Pucci Fashion show and dinner, tribute was paid to The Buoniconti Fund’s notable 2012 Women of Substance and Style, who walked down the runway accompanied by Celebrity Presenters. The evening culminated with guests dancing to the musical stylings of DJ Irie and traveled their way through the shops, which were transformed into “The Destinations” of locations from around the world such as Asia, Africa and the Americas. Bal Harbour Shops donated one-of-a-kind silent auction items including a Harry Winston diamond timepiece valued at more than $34,000, Tiffany & Co. platinum and diamond earrings valued at $11,000 and Warren Henry Auto donated a year lease for the new Range Rover Evoque, to name a few.
Notable celebrities and presenters included: Steve Alaimo, Moises Alou, Stanley Bahnsen, Rick Barry, Bob Beamon, Woody Bennett, Bruce Bowen, Miguel Cabrera, Helio Castronoves, Jeff Conine, Channing Crowder, Christopher Cuomo, Gil de Ferran, Colin Egglesfield, Todd English, Scott Erickson, Mike Eruzione, Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Rod Gilbert, Tim Hardaway, Randall Hill, Marvin Jones, James Lafferty, Brad Leland, Danell Levya, Rex Linn, Joe Manganiello, Mercury Morris,Alonzo Mourning, Tony Nathan, Wayne Newton, John Offerdahl, Louis Oliver, Tony Perez, Mike Piazza, Errict Rhett, Brett Romberg, Mark Rypien, Matthew Settle, Dwight Stephenson, Tico Torres, Aiden Turner, EJ Viso and Jed Weaver.
Destination Fashion 2012 was presented by Micky and Madeleine Arison. Destination Fashion Champion for a Cure: Edie Laquer and The Laquer Foundation join Event, Continent and Ocean Sponsors including Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour Village, Barton G., Carnival Corporation & plc., Coastal Construction Group, Susan and Mark Dalton, Wayne Gaunce, Kim and James Pallota. Scene Sponsors Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, Bunny Bastian, Trish and Dan Bell, Chanin and Adam Carlin, Roberta and Harvey Chaplin, City National Bank, Swanee and Paul DiMare, The Fairholme Foundation, Mary and Howard Frank, Richard Gray, Gretchen and Jay Jordan, Kandy and Jeffrey Kramer, Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock et al, Lauren’s Kids, Christine E. Lynn, Robert and Judi Prokop Newman, Victoria Ranger Nunez and Mike Nunez, Simkins Rubell Family, Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, Laura and Irwin Tauber and Beatrice and Dr. Sanford Ziff. Sponsors including American Airlines, Atlantico Rum, Aventura Worldwide Transportation Service, Chateau Group – Chateau Beach Residences, Comcast, Departures, FranklinDodd Communications, Ocean Drive Magazine, One Bal Harbour Resort and Spa, and Quarzo Bal Harbour Boutique Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour, Selecta Magazine, Southern Wine and Spirits, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort and Tiffany & Co., Warren Henry Auto Group.
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 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.