Darrell Gwynn Chapter of The Buoniconti Fund Donates Wheelchair to Needy Child
In January, more than a quarter-century after his last National Hot Rod Association win and the accident that left him paralyzed, Hall of Fame drag racer Darrell Gwynn was in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the famed Barrett-Jackson Auction. There he sold a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL custom hardtop, donated by his friend Frank Tiegs, to benefit The Darrell Gwynn Quality of Life Chapter of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
The proceeds of the car auction supported a wheelchair donation to Derik Hanson, a local child who was paralyzed by Transverse Myelitis at the age of 6 months, and paralysis research at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Buoniconti Fund is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center.
“I am happy to come to Scottsdale to auction off this truly unique car, and use some of the proceeds to give the gift of mobility to Derik,” said Gwynn. “As a racer, I’ve believed in the power of cars, and with them I’ve been able to support a great cause and help others.”
While a world champion racer in the 1980s, Gwynn donated a portion of his winnings to The Miami Project, and he continued to do so after his accident. He felt so strongly about finding a cure for paralysis, and the plight of those suffering from paralyzing spinal cord injuries, that he placed the iconic Miami Project wheelchair logo in a prime location on his racecar to show his support.
“Darrell has been a true champion in all aspects of his life,” said Marc Buoniconti, president of The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project. “He has touched thousands of lives, and we are thrilled to have him as part of The Buoniconti Fund family. He continues to do great things as we strive to meet our goal of helping better the lives of those living with paralysis, and ultimately finding a cure.”
In 1998, Darrell and his wife, Lisa Gwynn, D.O., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the Miller School, gave birth to their daughter, Katie, through The Miami Project’s Male Fertility Research Program, which helps paralyzed men achieve fatherhood.