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Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week

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Darrell Gwynn Foundation Spearheads Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week to Educate the Community

November 13 – 19 – First-ever week aimed at paralysis prevention, promoting safety, knowledge and understanding to reduce injuries and accidents

Ft. Lauderdale, FL: The Darrell Gwynn Foundation (DGF) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing paralysis when possible, providing support for individual’s living with paralysis and ultimately finding a cure for paralysis – is capitalizing on the first Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week as a focal point for educating the Florida community to the dangers of accidents that can lead to paralysis. The Foundation will spend the week of November 13-19, 2006 in Florida classrooms, on the airwaves, and at events across the state educating the public on preventing spinal cord injuries. DGF says its ultimate goal for the week is to reduce the number of spinal cord injuries in the state of Florida.

Darrell Gwynn, president and founder of DGF, noted that this is the first-ever week of its kind anywhere in the United States for paralysis prevention. “The Florida lifestyle is very active, with swimming a year-long pursuit, plus scores of outdoor activities,” he said. “Participation sports, as well as boating and driving, can lead to dangerous accidents that can often be avoided with a little bit of knowledge. For example, did you know that you should not allow your child to wear a backpack while belted into a car because even the slightest car accident could cause a neck injury?” Darrell Gwynn, a former professional racecar driver, is himself a quadriplegic, suffering a devastating spinal cord injury in a crash in 1990.

Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week was made possible by Florida legislators Sen. Nan Rich (D) and Rep. Rene Garcia (R).

Consistent communication is the key to prevention and to this end, Darrell Gwynn, Marc Buoniconti and other disabled individuals will visit selected Florida high schools and talk to students about what it’s like to be paralyzed and ways – some very simple – to prevent spinal cord injuries. In some cases, key Florida legislators will accompany individuals during the schools visits. In addition, the Florida Department of Health is sponsoring a series of Public Service Announcements featuring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Tony Stewart to air during Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week on major television stations.

The Darrell Gwynn Foundation is partnering with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to create spinal cord injury prevention tips and information brochures. These vital and informative brochures will be distributed at targeted high schools in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Orange, and Duval counties. DGF is also partnering with MAC Tool Trucks in Florida to distribute information tip sheets at customer locations. In addition, partners Homestead- Miami Speedway and Moroso Motorsports Park are making prevention tip sheets available at their locations. Some information will also be hosted online at, including a schedule of events or call 954-792-7223 ext. 105

The week-long series of events and educational outreach will culminate on November 18th with DGF’s 5th Annual Miccosukee Resort & Gaming’s Hot Rods & Reels NASCAR Drivers Charity Fishing Tournament at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s infield lake. During the fishing tournament, DGF will give away a power wheelchair to a needy recipient as part of their Wheelchair Donation program, done in conjunction with partner Quickie Wheelchairs. That same day, there will be a charity walk around the Homestead-Miami Speedway track, put on by the NASCAR Foundation to benefit DGF and The Victory Junction Gang.

“Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week is a terrific way of giving the public essential information toward reducing crippling injuries,” added Gwynn. “We are doing our best to make this week interesting and fun, but most importantly to make an impact – on the statistics and on people’s lives.” Florida Spinal Cord Injury Week is generously sponsored by DHL, Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Florida Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Florida Department of Health, the NASCAR Foundation, Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, MAC Tools/Florida and Moroso Motorsports Park.

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