Approximately 800 guests joined together in New York City on June 8, 2011 to raise money for and celebrate the accomplishments of physically challenged athletes at the fifth annual Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala. Hosted by the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), the event raised a record $1.4 million and included celebrity guests, a live auction and entertainment by Grammy award winner Macy Gray.
“The outpouring of emotion and generosity were on full display at this year’s Heroes, Heart and Hope gala,” Virginia Tinley, executive director of CAF, stated in a press release. “The incredible donations from our guests, sponsors and those who provided auction items will have a direct, positive impact on the lives of physically challenged athletes for years to come.”
One of the many highlights of the evening included a live auction featuring two coveted spots in the Ford IronmanWorld Championship held annually in Kona, Hawaii.
The evening’s presenters were NBC TODAY news anchor Natalie Morales, Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack, former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer and sports broadcaster Craig Hummer.
Highlighted athletes included Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, an inspirational West Point graduate and Army football player who lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007; Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius, a South African Paralympic world record holder known as the “the fastest man on no legs;” and Kaela Cruz, a 10 year-old little girl who lost her leg to cancer yet knows no limitations.
This year’s gala honoree was Martin E. Franklin, Chairman and CEO of Jarden Corporation.