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Dahlia: Craig Hospital $500,000 fund-raiser pushes envelope

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    Dahlia: Craig Hospital $500,000 fund-raiser pushes envelope

    Dahlia: Craig Hospital $500,000 fund-raiser pushes envelope
    April 8, 2002

    Sometimes to get what you want, you have to be pushy.

    Just ask the folks at Craig Hospital, whose first-time fund-raiser, PUSH for the Cure, coaxed more than 750 supporters to come to the Marriott Tech Center and contribute more than $500,000 to the hospital's spinal cord and brain injury research programs.

    Dinner chairman Arthur Seiden of Fuller and Co. led the PUSH on behalf of his wife, Julie, who was injured six years ago in a horseback riding accident and now must use a wheelchair. According to insiders, the Seidens were responsible for the inspiration -- and much of the perspiration -- behind the successful fete.

    Fuller and Co. fellows on hand included Don Kortz and John Fuller, who both served on the dinner committee. They were seen hobnobbing with attendees such as business and community leaders Marilyn and Larry Atler, also a dinner committee member, their daughter Jennifer and her husband, attorney Joel Rosenstein; Gary and Donna Antonoff; Vectra Bank honchos Gary Mosko and Bob Silverberg, who also served on the dinner committee; LePetit Catering's Jim O'Connor; and jeweler Bob Kortz.

    Also pushing for a successful fete was honorary chairman and Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Griese, whose interest in spinal cord injury dates back to 1985 when family friend and football player Marc Buoniconti was paralyzed after a college football injury. Griese was accompanied to the dinner by his girlfriend, Brook McClintic, and Megan Gibbs, who accompanied her friend, Jayne Uber, a special guest of Griese's who flew to Denver for the fete.

    Uber met Griese when she was a patient at Mott Children's Hospital in the fall of 1996. She was 16 and had suffered a broken neck in a horseback-riding accident when Griese, the University of Michigan rising quarterback, walked into her hospital room after learning about her accident. (She didn't even know who he was.) The two became fast friends and Griese even accompanied Uber to her high school prom. They are still close to this day.

    Other sports celebrities showed their support including Griese's teammate Olandis Gary and Colorado Avalanche center Peter Forsberg, athletes who are no strangers to serious injuries and surgeries.

    Forsberg was on hand to support fellow Swedes Drs. Ake Seiger and Claus Hultling, who attended the dinner to celebrate the partnership between Craig Hospital and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

    Dr. Scott Falci, Craig Hospital's chief neurosurgeon, performed the first human spinal cord tissue implant of its kind in Sweden and continues to work with his Swedish colleagues to find new and improved treatment for spine injuries. Falci's wife, Kelly, and his proud parents, Wanda and Frank Falci, also were at the fete.

    Patron Ron Moore, chairman of Guarantee Bank, and his wife, Carol, teamed up with dinner committee member Ron Branish from Adaptive Equipment to place the winning bid on a beautiful rose painting by Julie Seiden, the artwork that graced the dinner invitation and journal. The Moores' daughter and dinner committee member, Sandy Loeffler, did most of the bidding and negotiating on behalf of her parents.

    Many more friends of Craig Hospital and former patients were in attendance, such as Barbara Neubauer, a patient at the hospital 26 years ago; Don Digby and his wife, Lydia; and patients Melissa Holley and Erik Coffman, who received experimental treatments at the Weitzmann Institute in Israel, another one of Craig Hospital's research partners. Holley was also the first patient to receive the new Activated Macrophage therapy for spinal cord injuries.

    Craig Hospital President Denny O'Malley spoke to guests about the "edge of the new era" for spinal cord research and commended the Seidens, Dr. Falci and Dr. Dan Lamertse, medical director at Craig Hospital, for helping move the research process forward at great speed.

    Guests also enjoyed a video greeting from actor Christopher Reeve, who received treatment at Craig Hospital following his spinal cord injury, and the antics of KCNC News 4 anchors and emcees Stephanie Riggs and Ed Greene, who thanked the generous supporters and committee members on hand such as Kacey Fine Furniture owner Leslie Fishbein; Steve Cohen; Melissa and Steve Elkin; Gerald Gartner; Kenny Hosack; Robert Leino; Janet Lozow; Suzanne Lynch; Sheridan Melnick; Pat Miller; Robert Miller; Jim Richards; Saul Rosenthal; Carol Schmidt; Susan Shank; Kathryn Tomblyn; Lynn and Mark Tredennick; Dr. Alan Weintraub; Richard and Maureen Graf; Bill Connors; Diane and David Thomson; Steve Shapiro; and Olympic torch bearer and dinner committee member Chris Chappell, to name just a few.

    For more information about Craig Hospital's services, call (303) 789-8800.

    Dahlia Jean Weinstein's column runs Monday through Thursday. Contact her at (303) 892-2882 or


    Copyright 2002, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved


    To be a member of this committee. Check out my new post concerning next year! [img]/forum/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img]

    Onward and Upward!