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PUSH Gala raises a record amount for Craig

May 09, 2018

Craig Hospital’s biggest fundraiser of the year, presented by DaVita, was held on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The PUSH gala raises money to support Craig Hospital’s programs and research. While donations are still being processed, preliminary figures show that the event raised over $1.9 million. That includes more than $750,000 for the Patient Assistance Fund.

Proceeds from the PUSH dinner fund Craig’s unique culture of care, programs like Therapeutic Recreation, Adaptive Technology, Music Therapy, Community Reintegration and education programs – which are generally not covered by insurance. PUSH funds also support research, including ongoing studies and clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes, reducing long-term complications, and enhancing the quality of life for those affected by spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

The 2018 event was chaired by Kent Thiry and Denise O’Leary. The PUSH Video sponsors were GE Johnson Construction Company and Dave and Gail Liniger. The Auction sponsor was Great-West Financial/Empower Retirement.

Sampson Briggs, 2018 Inspiration Award Honoree

At the 2018 PUSH, the Inspiration Award was given to Sampson Briggs. The Inspiration Award recognizes an individual who stands out as a positive and influential role model for the community Craig serves. Briggs had a catastrophic accident while at his summer job. A 30-foot fall on his head and face resulted in a severe traumatic brain injury, many broken bones, and weeks in the ICU. This was followed by months of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation at Craig Hospital. Turning tragedy into an opportunity to promote safety, Sampson is now sharing his story of recovery with others. His hope is to promote the importance of safety on the job site.

Jo Donlin, 2018 Dave and Gail Liniger Spirit of Craig Award Honoree

Also at the dinner, Jo Donlin accepted the Dave and Gail Liniger Spirit of Craig Award. This award recognizes a Craig graduate and/or family member who, through their community service, professional achievement, and personal support of Craig's patients, graduates, and mission, significantly brings to life the spirit of Craig Hospital to others in the community.

In 1990 Donlin dove into a lake, hit her head on the sand below, and instantly became a quadriplegic. She arrived at Craig eight weeks later to spend the next four months putting her life back together. A native of Wyoming, she returned to Casper to continue her recovery and build new dreams. Donlin fought to maximize her independence and reignited her interest in public policy, state government and public service. She returned to Denver in 1993, earned her Master’s in Public Administration and began her career. For 20 years, she has formulated and implemented state public policy agendas, developed strategic communications, and built relationships with community leaders, policymakers, non-profit and business professionals. She continues her public service at the Department of Regulatory Agencies, serving as the Director of Regulatory Outreach and Education in one of its largest divisions.

Donlin is a strong advocate for and participant in community service and served on Craig’s Board of Directors from 2003-2009. Currently, she serves on the CU School of Public Affairs Advisory Board, is a mentor in the Colorado College Public Interest Fellowship Program and plans to join the Board of Directors of Wilderness on Wheels in Spring 2018.

I was so far beyond thrilled to be able to attend the PUSH Dinner last night. They just keep getting better and better! This one event and all of the families, grads and staff who represent Craig to its fullest provide a magical time in life for me.

PUSH Dinner attendee

Patient Assistance Recipient Brian Jung shares his story.

The PUSH paddle auction raised funds for the Craig Foundation’s Patient Assistance Fund, which helps patients with minimal income or inadequate insurance travel to and from Craig, purchase equipment like wheelchairs and shower chairs, remodel homes for accessibility, train caregivers, pay mortgages and rent, and meet other urgent needs. Generous donors gave more than $750,000 in the paddle auction.

The 2019 PUSH Gala will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019.