The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation hosted its annual star-studded A Magical Evening fundraising gala on Wednesday, November 30th at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Longtime Reeve Foundation supporters Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep served as the evening’s special guests, along with actors Mark Ruffalo, Dave Annable and Christopher Reeve’s children Matthew Reeve, Alexandra Reeve Givens and Will Reeve.
This year’s A Magical Evening gala was the most successful to date, raising close to $3 million, which will help fulfill the Reeve Foundation’s mission of “Today’s Care. Tomorrow’s Cure.” The success of this year’s gala is largely due to the evening’s honorees that have shown amazing strength and fortitude and have provided a constant source of support and guidance to the Reeve Foundation.
As a dear friend of both Christopher and Dana Reeve and a pioneer in investment banking, philanthropy, media and new ventures, Peter D. Kiernan, III, the former Chairman of the Board of the Reeve Foundation, was presented with the 2011 Dana Reeve HOPE Award by Will Reeve, Alexandra Reeve Givens and Matthew Reeve.
Kiernan’s incredible vision, leadership, expert guidance and steadfast devotion, which led the foundation into a new era of hope and possibility, was recognized by a standing ovation from the over 600 guests in attendance. Will Reeve stated, “Peter Kiernan was one of my parents’ closest friends in life. He has lent an immeasurable amount of time, effort and energy to the Foundation.
Along with those contributions, he has also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars every year since he joined the board in 1999. And even though his financial contributions are astonishing, Peter’s true value to the Foundation was never clearer than during the trying times after my mother’s passing.”
Will Reeve added, “In the darkest period in our history, Peter emerged as the ultimate leader. He had a vision that was clear and a resolve that was contagious. Peter coined the phrase, ‘it’s up to us,’ a mantra that carried everyone through that tumultuous time. His vision wasn’t just to keep the foundation afloat, but rather to expand and increase its impact on the world in the name of my parents.
I know that my parents would be proud of all that has been accomplished, and as excited as we all are about what’s in store for the future.” Additionally during the evening, LPGA star Karrie Webb was presented with the 2011 Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award.
A longtime friend and supporter of the Reeve Foundation, Karrie was recognized for her dedication to improving the lives of those living with paralysis. Over the past decade, Karrie has been a tremendous ambassador for the Reeve Foundation. Earlier this year, Karrie donated $100,000 of her LPGA Founders’ Cup winnings to the Reeve Foundation.
Alexandra Reeve Givens stated, “Karrie has experienced first-hand just how inspiring someone living with a spinal cord injury can be.” Her coach, Kelvin Haller, has been living with quadriplegia for two decades. Alexandra continued, “With Kelvin by her side, Karrie has become one of the greatest golfers in history.
But as remarkable as Karrie’s accomplishments on the golf course are, we believe that her greatest contributions have happened off the course.” Peter Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Reeve Foundation, said, “Karrie Webb is one of those special people who constantly reaffirms our belief that what we are doing is worthwhile, and will indeed change the world.”
The hope and the work of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation was demonstrated Wednesday night when Rob Summers took the stage to tell his inspirational story which made headlines worldwide. Summers, a young man from Oregon, was completely paralyzed from the chest down five years ago after being struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run incident.
Through the Reeve Foundation’s funding of a major collaborative research effort, Rob Summers was able to stand and bear weight on his legs and move his legs and feet with assistance for the first time. This incredible medical breakthrough has given millions of people a renewed promise of hope.
The evening concluded with dancing and music provided by DJ Cassidy. MANHATTAN Magazine served as the media sponsor. In addition to the festivities at the gala, the Reeve Foundation launched A Magical Auction, their first-ever online auction with the leading charity auction website, charitybuzz at http://www.charitybuzz.com/reevefoundation.
Until A Magical Auction ends on December 13, bidders have the chance to win one-of-a-kind pop culture experiences, VIP events, luxury travel, fine art, couture fashion, upscale merchandise, and more. The winning bids raise money for the Reeve Foundation’s innovative research and Quality of Life programs.