Craig Hospital’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the annual PUSH dinner, was held on Friday, Feb. 28. The gala event, sponsored in 2014 by FirstBank, raised $1,149,385 to support Craig Hospital’s programs and research. Nearly 1400 people attended the sold-out event.
Proceeds from the PUSH dinner fund Craig’s programs of excellence – 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 nearly $271,000 for the Craig Hospital 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 college tuition, and meet other urgent needs.
At the 2014 PUSH, Kevin Pearce, a former professional snowboarder, was awarded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration Award. This award is given in recognition of Pearce’s determination, advocacy, and commitment to serving as a positive and influential role model to those who have sustained a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury.
On December 31, 2009, while training for the U.S. Olympic trials in Park City, Utah and practicing a trick on the half-pipe, Pearce sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. Although he was wearing a helmet, the injury left Kevin in critical condition and in a medically induced coma. He rehabilitated from his injury at Craig Hospital.
Post-accident, Pearce has become a passionate advocate for education and research on Traumatic Brain Injuries and their prevention. His recovery—and his journey to accept his new life—was recently chronicled in “The Crash Reel,” an HBO documentary film directed by Lucy Walker. The film is accompanied by the Love Your Brain outreach campaign, a social movement focused on improving lives through brain injury prevention, rehabilitation and brain health.
He has established The Kevin Pearce Fund to support organizations that serve individuals and families affected by brain injury, Down syndrome, and other challenges. Pearce’s first gift from the Kevin Pearce Fund was made to the Craig Hospital Foundation at a press conference on Feb. 28.