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2017 PUSH Gala raises record amount for Craig patients and programs

May 12, 2017

Craig Hospital’s biggest fundraiser of the year, presented by Dave and Gail Liniger, was held on Saturday, April 29, 2017. The PUSH Dinner raises money to support Craig Hospital’s programs and research.

The event raised more than $1.8 million for Craig.

Proceeds from the PUSH dinner fund Craig’s unique culture of care, programs like Therapeutic Recreation, Adaptive Technology, Music Therapy, Community Reintegration and education and tutoring 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 quality of life for those affected by spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

The PUSH paddle auction raised more than $700,000 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.The paddle auction was kicked-off by a $250,000 gift from the Ludlow-Griffith Foundation and a $100,000 gift from the Don Digby Family.

At the 2017 PUSH, the Inspiration Award was given to Kelli Johnson. The Inspiration Award recognizes an individual who stands out as a positive and influential role model for the community Craig serves.

Johnson sustained a traumatic brain injury in a ski accident when she and her daughter were struck by a snowboarder. Her daughter died in the accident. Johnson and her husband Chauncy are working with the National Ski Areas Association on a campaign to encourage safety in memory of their daughter.

Also at the dinner, actor and disability inclusion advocate Regan Linton 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.

During her junior year at USC in Los Angeles, Linton sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident. Following her injury, she completed rehab at Craig and then finished her degree at USC. Regan attained her Master in Social Work at the University of Denver and also served on the Board of Directors at Craig Hospital. In 2010, Regan left Denver to pursue an MFA in Acting at UC San Diego as the first wheelchair user to ever attend the prestigious program. She has been working professionally ever since. She is currently the artistic director and Interim Executive Director of the Phamaly Theatre Company in Denver.

The 2017 event was chaired by Dan and Stacey May. The PUSH Video sponsors were GE Johnson Construction Company and Great-West Financial/Empower Retirement.