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Press Release

PUSH Gala to honor Craig graduates Tricia Downing and Tom & Michele Castle

18th annual event to raise money for Craig programs, patients and research

Craig Hospital’s biggest fundraiser of the year, presented by NexGen, will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019. The PUSH Dinner raises money to support Craig Hospital’s programs and research.

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 the quality of life for those affected by spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

The PUSH paddle auction raises 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.

At the 2019 PUSH, the Inspiration Award will be given to Tricia Downing. The Inspiration Award recognizes an individual who stands out as a positive and influential role model for the community Craig serves. On September 17, 2000, Downing went from being a competitive cyclist to a paraplegic requiring a wheelchair for mobility. Her life was changed forever, but her competitive spirit and zest for life continued on. Downing is a Craig hospital graduate, a multi-sport athlete, nonprofit Executive Director, author, motivational speaker and Paralympian.

Also at the dinner, Tom and Michele Castle will jointly accept 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 2011, Tom Castle sustained a stroke as a result of a congenital heart defect. The family came to Craig for outpatient therapy that helped him get back to work and the activities he loves. The family came back to Craig again for outpatient therapy when Michele’s father, Alex Brewer, was experiencing neurologic issues. Now Tom and Michele, and Michele’s mother, Dorrace Brewer, are some of Craig’s most ardent supporters. They have hosted fundraising events in their home, given generously to the capital campaign and other fundraising efforts, sponsored and supported events like PUSH multiple times, and donated thousands of dollars worth of equipment. They are passionate advocates for Craig in the community, using their influence and relationships to spread the word and introduce others to the Craig mission of empowering lives.

The 2019 event is chaired by Charlie and Judy McNeil. The PUSH Video sponsors are GE Johnson Construction Company and Dave and Gail Liniger. The Auction is sponsored by Centura Health.