The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis held an Equestrian Legends Celebrity Polo Match and Gala on April 29, presented by Valentino, to support research being done at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the premier research program targeting spinal cord and brain injuries.
The event was held at the National Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., and featured a cocktail reception, auctions and equestrian demonstrations from Olympic and world champions in the disciplines of show jumping, dressage and polo.
Among those honored was the event chairman and co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, Tim Gannon, who received The Buoniconti Fund Award. Philanthropist and two-time U.S. Open Women’s Polo champion and game MVP Dawn Jones received the Philanthropy Award, and Irish Olympic show jumping legend Kevin Babington received the Inspiration Award, which was accepted by his wife, Dianna Babington.
The three Equestrian Legend awardees included Robert Jeffrey Dover, the most honored dressage rider in the U.S.; Jeff Hall, who has won every trophy in high-goal U.S. polo, including the most prestigious U.S. Open; and Kris Kampsen, a three-time U.S. Arena Open champion who has played polo for more than 25 years and is still playing competitive polo at the highest level, maintaining his handicap of six goals for more than 20 years.
Marc Buoniconti, president of The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, shared his story and the importance of supporting research efforts at The Miami Project. Barth Green, M.D., executive dean for global health and community service at the Miller School and The Miami Project co-founder, discussed the latest advances to help those living with paralysis and other neurological disorders.
The evening’s presenting sponsor was Valentino, with Penfolds supplying wine and champagne. The polo team sponsors included The Armour Group at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management and Verde CO2. The band Groove Republik performed for the guests.
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Buoniconti Fund is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise funds and awareness to help The Miami Project achieve its primary focus: to repair and restore function to the injured and diseased nervous system, thereby improving the quality of life for patients throughout the world.