DAVIE, Fla. – The Darrell Gwynn Foundation and four other South Florida charities made a powerful impact on the community when they hit the water on Sunday, July 11, to celebrate the first-ever “Sailapalooza” fundraiser.
Hosted by Uniting Foundations for Disability Awareness, “Sailapalooza” provided physically challenged residents and their able-bodied guests a day of sailing, kayaking, boat rides, island exploration, art, music and barbeque at the Shake-A-Leg Miami facility in Coconut Grove.
Approximately 250 people turned out to support the event, which raised $9,000 to support education, research and recreational options for people with disabilities.
A highlight of “Sailapalooza” was the presentation by The Darrell Gwynn Foundation of custom power wheelchairs to two deserving South Floridians. Maria Gonzalez, 20, of Hialeah is living with spina bifida, one of the most common permanently disabling birth defects in the U.S. Gwynn helped Gonzalez realize her goal of attending college by presenting her with a new $18,000 wheelchair. Michael Adam Noel is a senior at North Miami Beach Senior High School who is orthopedically impaired, a condition that adversely affects learning and/or educational performance. Referred to The Darrell Gwynn Foundation by his teacher, Noel received a $17,000 chair from Gwynn that will improve his mobility and enhance his lifestyle.
All proceeds from Sailapalooza are being divided among five 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations to support scientific research and promote education and recreational services for people with disabilities. The benefiting organizations include The Darrell Gwynn Foundation, Shake-A-Leg Miami, Spinal Cord Injury Support Group, The Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research and Traumatic Injury Support Foundation.
“Supporting others is what The Darrell Gwynn Foundation is all about and, thanks to the ongoing generosity of our donors, we are able to give both of these deserving young people a new perspective on life,” said Gwynn.
A former National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) champion, Gwynn dedicated his life to prevention of spinal cord injuries after a near-fatal accident in 1990. Now 48 and living near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he oversees the foundation he and his wife Lisa established to raise money earmarked for educational programs on paralysis, providing long-term health services for spinal cord injury patients and funding paralysis research. As one element of that outreach, The Darrell Gwynn Foundation Wheelchair Donation Program to date has provided deserving individuals throughout Florida and across the country with approximately $1 million in customized, high-tech wheelchairs.
Shake-A-Leg Miami is a facility that helps children and adults with physical, developmental and economic challenges by liberating them from the realm of imagination into the realm of experience. Shake-A-Leg Miami is a “Gateway to Biscayne Bay” and an inspirational haven where people of all abilities find common ground. (www.shakealegmiami.org)
Spinal Cord Injury Support Group promotes camaraderie through friendship, education, advocacy and recreation to enhance the quality of life for those affected by spinal cord injuries and disabilities. (www.scisg.org)
The Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research is dedicated to bridging the gap between stem cell research and the infinite solutions it can provide for curing disease by funding research that can lead to treatments for diabetes, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, cancer and a myriad of other conditions. (www.sabrinacohenfoundation.org)
Traumatic Injury Support Foundation was established to meet the needs of family members of individuals who have sustained a traumatic injury ad to provide support services to trauma centers. (www.traumahelpnow.org)
Event sponsors included DMR Corporation, Ocean Conversions and Miami Physical Therapy.
About The Darrell Gwynn Foundation
The Darrell Gwynn Foundation is a Davie, Fla.-based non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization established by former National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) champion Darrell Gwynn to support individuals with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating illnesses. The Foundation’s mission is to Provide Awareness, Prevention, Support, and Ultimately a Cure for Paralysis. To expedite specific cures, The Foundation assists in the funding of targeted research.
For more information about The Foundation and the programs it supports, visit www.darrellgwynnfoundation.org or call 954-792-7223.