The “Totally Supercharged 80’s Party” raised approximately $97,000 for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation on Friday, September 20. Hosted by Passion Nightclub, the event was sponsored by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, DMR Corp. and the Setnor Byer Family Foundation. Additional support was provided by Comcast, Eye on South Florida and Gold Coast Beverage. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s mission is to provide SUPPORT to people with paralysis and PREVENT spinal cord injuries.
At the event, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, on behalf of its donors and supporters, presented a brand new $20,000 custom power wheelchair to 9 year-old Geno Laviola of Sunrise, Fla. Geno is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He was unable to obtain the proper power wheelchair that he needed through his health insurance and was denied by Medicaid. He was presented his new power wheelchair after an emotional video portraying the struggles the Laviola family has gone through trying to acquire a power wheelchair for Geno and the daily struggles they face raising a child without the proper medical equipment he needs. Geno, whose irresistible charm touched everyone in attendance, thanked everyone in attendance for giving him the gift of mobility with his smile and excitement
The event was hosted and DJ’d by Rock With U Entertainment. A live auction led by host Ross Bielejeski of Rock With U Entertainment lifted a spirited crowd to pledge approximately $62,000 toward the Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s Wheelchair Donation Program through a “Give the Gift of Mobility” auction giving donors an opportunity to purchase wheelchair or parts of wheelchairs to support the program. Laura Jones immediately pledged $25,000 to cover a new wheelchair for the next child and motivated several other donors to support the foundation. Joe Coulter, who could not attend, pledged by phone to donate $25,000 for a new wheelchair in an exciting moment. In a night filled with goodwill and community support, just about everyone in attendance pledged to support the foundation during the live auction.
Former wheelchair recipients also attended to celebrate the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. Wheelchair Donation Program alumni Christine Kent, Gururaj Shiram, Alex Lowe, Mathew Palacios, Owen Johnson and James Roberts attended to end their support and all appeared in front of the stage together in a powerful moment.
The “Totally Supercharged 80’s Party” featured dinner by Catering by Sally, drinks, 80’s music and dancers decked out in 80’s garb by Rock With U Entertainment and guests wore 80’s attire and danced the night away for a great cause.
At the event the Darrell Gwynn Foundation took a look back into the lives of its co-founders in the 80’s, Darrell & Lisa Gwynn. Some highlights from a memorable decade include Darrell being named “Rookie of the Year” in the NHRA in 1980, winning the 1983 Top Alcohol Dragster world championship, winning the 1986 World Finals and 1989 U.S. Nationals, winning 27 national racing events in the 80’s and being named “Driver of the Year” in 1989 by the NHRA. Lisa was a University of Miami Cheerleader during the 1987 & 1989 National Championships seasons for the Hurricanes, she was named Orange Bowl Queen in 1989 and graduated from the University of Miami on route to becoming a doctor in 1989. Videos and photos of the Gwynn’s from the 80’s were on display all night to a cheerful crowd eager to reminisce about a memorable decade.
About the Darrell Gwynn Foundation
Founded in 2002 by Champion Racer Darrell Gwynn and his wife, Lisa, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide SUPPORT for people living with paralysis and PREVENT spinal cord injuries. The foundation’s primary support program is its national Wheelchair Donation Program. With this program the Darrell Gwynn Foundation has donated custom built wheelchairs to hundreds of individuals in need facing medical and financial hardships. The foundation also maintains a Patient Assistance Fund offering support services and tools at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado and Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. with aspirations to expand this model to several hospitals nationwide. The Patient Assistance Fund also supports two Speediatrics Units the Betty Jane France Pediatric Center, at Halifax Hospital in Daytona, Fla. and Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. Additionally, the Patient Assistance Fund provides financial support through its Fast Track Laboratory with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis aimed at finding a cure for paralysis. The foundation operates an Education & Prevention Program directed to high school students to educate them on the dangers of risky behavior that can lead to spinal cord injuries. This rapidly growing program reaches over 10,000 students annually at over 50 high schools. In an effort to create more awareness about spinal cord injuries, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation successfully lobbied for and established a National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month and Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week in Florida. With tremendous fundraising partners such as Barrett-Jackson, the NHRA, NASCAR and many more generous sponsors, individual supporters and donors, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation continues to evolve as a leading foundation for those with spinal cord injuries and living with paralysis. For more information please visit www.darrellgwynnfoundation.org or www.facebook.com/darrellgwynnfoundation or follow @gwynnfoundation.