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Cast of ON YOUR FEET! to Perform at 31st Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner; James L. Nederlander to Be Honored

A group of iconic sports legends and special honorees will be celebrated by The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, at its 31st Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner on Monday, September 12 at The Waldorf Astoria.

The annual benefit, hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc, will honor New York Yankees great and World Series Champion Mariano Rivera, seven-time tennis Major winner and fashion designer Venus Williams, NFL Hall of Fame running back from the New York Jets Curtis Martin, New York Knicks legend and NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed, four-time IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti, Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, WNBA, NBA, and FIBA Hall of Fame basketball great Cheryl Miller, and record-setting long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad.

Receiving special tribute that night will be Golden Globe winner Christian Slater, who will receive The Buoniconti Fund Award; Mr. Las Vegas Wayne Newton, who will receive The Humanitarian Award; James L. Nederlander, President of The Nederlander Organization, who will receive The Buoniconti Fund's Outstanding Philanthropist Award, which will be presented by Gloria and Emilio Estefan; legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who will receive The Great American Icon Award; and Sports Legends event chairman Mark Dalton, who will receive the Christine E. Lynn Champion for a Cure Award.

NBC's Nightly News anchor Lester Holt will serve as emcee for the event, and the cast of the smash hit Broadway musical On Your Feet! The Musical - The Story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan will perform live for a venerable "who's who" of more than 1,300 sports legends, celebrities, philanthropists, corporate leaders and other influential supporters.

The event benefits 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 most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 300 sports legends and honorees and has raised millions for The Miami Project's spinal cord injury research programs. The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, through the research efforts of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, is committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again.

"For more than 30 years, The Great Sports Legend Dinner has highlighted our incredible journey to raise funds and bring awareness to the ground-breaking, much-needed spinal cord injury research supporting our efforts to cure paralysis," said NFL Hall of Famer and Founder of The Buoniconti Fund Nick Buoniconti. "We're honored to have the generosity and participation of so many iconic athletes and heroes who join us in providing hope for those living with paralysis, so together we can stand up for those who can't."

Our "Legend Alumni" and Honorees include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Willie Mays, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Tony Hawk, Cal Ripken, Jr., Gloria Estefan, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, George Foreman, Tom Brokaw, Julio Iglesias, Helio Castroneves, Phil Collins, Troy Aikman, Joe DiMaggio, Bob Cousy, Mario Andretti, Joe Namath, Pedro Martinez, Hakeem Olajuwon, Andre Agassi, Dan Marino, Mike Piazza, Pat Riley, Dorothy Hamill, Mia Hamm, Kelly Slater, Joe Torre and many other athletes and heroes - all of who recognize that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and everyday lives.

The 31st Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner on Monday, September 12, 2016 begins at 5:30 PM at The Waldorf Astoria, 301 Park Avenue, New York City. Tickets start at $850 per person and can be purchased by phone at (305)-243-4656 or www.thebuonicontifund.com/GSLD.

For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, visit www.thebuonicontifund.com. To take part in the conversation on social media follow us at facebook.com/cureparalysis, or twitter and Instagram @BuonicontiFund and using the hashtags #BuonicontiFund and #GSLD31.

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 (SCI) research center, and a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project's international team includes more than 300 scientists, researchers, clinicians and support staff who take innovative approaches to the challenges of spinal cord and brain injuries. 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.

This is an unbelievable time for The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project's research, and for medical history. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave permission to The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to continue the revolutionary Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety of transplanting human Schwann cells in patients with acute (recent) spinal cord injuries to include those with chronic (those paralyzed for a year or more) injuries. Found mainly in the peripheral nervous system, Schwann cells are essential to sending appropriate electrical signals through the nervous system, and Miami Project scientists and supporters believe they are key to finding cures for paralysis. The Miami Project physicians and researchers are enrolling the first participants in this Phase 1 clinical trial, part of the Christine E. Lynn Clinical Trials Initiative at The Miami Project. There are millions of people living with chronic spinal cord injury paralysis that could potentially benefit from this experimental procedure. Never in the history of spinal cord injury research have the prospects of finding a cure for paralysis been better.



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