Celebrities, Socialites and Sexy High “Rollers” Come out to Cure Paralysis


What an amazing evening! Starting with a Red Hot Red Carpet, with Wayne Newton, Emilio Estefan, Phil Collins, Super Star Athletes, and Socialites, all coming together to lend their support to raise money for a Cure for Paralysis. And boy did they succeed, raising millions including two anonymous gifts, one of $1 million and another of $500,000. Thanks, Guys!

Singer Wayne Newton Poses on RED carpet at Destination Fashion with Deborah Davis (seated in wheelchair) with his wife

Wayne Newton Poses on RED carpet at Destination Fashion with Deborah Davis

The event was titled “Destination Fashion”, as the high glam affair and sit down dinner featured a fashion show and a after party in the Bal Harbour Shoppes. During the party, the guests were able to bid on auction items provided by each and every store in the open courtyard with dresses going for $30,000, designer handbags, eye wear, jewelry and more.

The event also included the special touch of honoring “Woman of Substance”. The Presenting Sponsor were the ever generous and amazing Swanee and Paul DiMare. Also honoured were: Humanitarian Award to Stanley Whitman, Randy Whitman and Matthew Whitman Lazenby, and the Christine E. Lynn Champion for a Cure Award to Micky and Madeleine Arison. The Outstanding Philanthropists Award recipients went to long-running supporters, Gloria and Emilio Estefan (see an interview with Emilio below), and The Miami Project Spirit of Giving Award was given to Edie Laquer.

The After Party had street performers including the best Michael Jackson impersonator performance, fancy bars every 100 feet, dessert tables, candy bars, and Barton G Restaurant’s pigs in a blanket and mini beef sliders. After Party tickets were $300 if not attending the main dinner gala and show and was held across from the main venue in the Bal Harbour Shoppes (which to my dismay completely shut down for the event!)

So, what is the Miami Project up to and how will all these funds (estimated to be over 6 million raised on this one event! Final Tally pending) be spent to furthering the health and hope of those who sustain paralysis each year?

Blond Woman posing with suited handsome man seated in wheelchair at party smiling

Destination Fashion Guests enjoying the After Party in Bal Harbour Shoppes

Destination Fashion 2016 After Party Bar

Well, according to Scientific Director W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D. “This year has been the most exciting in our 30-year history regarding new discoveries and treatments for spinal cord injury (SCI) In our first FDA approved Schwann cell clinical trial, subject recruitment is complete and we have successfully transplanted Schwann cells with no serious risk factors. Encouraging results are also being seen in some subjects including minor improvements in sensory function. Based on the success of this initial trial, we have initiated a second chronic SCI study where an extensive rehabilitation protocol will be combined for the first time with Schwann cell transplantation.”

From the Website: Since its inception, a goal of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has been to increase the number of laboratories undertaking SCI research by recruiting the premier scientists to the field, and by training students who will establish new research laboratories throughout the world.

Areas of Research
Cell Transplantation, Exercise Science, Fertility, Neurophysiology, Neuroplasticity, Neuroprotection, Neuroregeneration, Nutrition, Pain, Spasticity, and Traumatic Brain Injury
– See more at: http://www.themiamiproject.org/research/#sthash.i5W18fkL.dpuf

Watch Video Clip of highlights from the night’s event and learn more about the science and the studies that make the Miami Project unique and determined to be a major contributor to the science and the practices that help those with new and chronic injuries live the best life, while getting the functional recovery they have been waiting for.

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.

For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, visit their website, facebook.com/cureparalysis, or twitter.com/BuonicontiFund. For more information about attending or sponsoring Destination Fashion in coming years, please call Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Director of Major Gifts, Corporate Relations, Marketing and Events at 305-243-4656, email saagaard@miami.edu or visit www.thebuonicontifund.com/destinationfashion.

Deborah Davis

Deborah is a Speaker, Disability Inclusion Consultant, Entrepreneur, Writer and Business Owner of Wheelchair Lifestyle Enterprise Push Living Inc.

She was a Former Dancer, Accident Survivor (C 6-7 Spinal Cord Injury resulting in incomplete Quadriplegia 1985), College grad (BBA Finance 1991 U of Miami), with a background in Sales and Marketing and Non Profit Development and Management.

She is now embarked on new path creating a market for Disability Inclusive Stock Images with the creation of PUSHlivingPhotos.com and publishing an online enterprise: PushLiving.com. The mission is to create Inclusion for people with disabilities through stock images for advertising, marketing and editorial uses, providing accessible properties for travel, swap or purchase, publishing an online magazine for improved health and well-being, providing information and opportunities for Accessible Travel, and operating an online store with products that improve lives.

She is most passionate about building a network of people with disabilities who are empowering, supporting and creating a more inclusive world. Personally, she is a mother of two beautiful, wise and exceptionally bright young women, and residing in South Florida.

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