CPN #StandWithSam Online Virtual 20th Anniversary Gala Set for Aug. 20
Brandi Kurka, Conquer Paralysis Now
LAS VEGAS, NV (July 27, 2020) – Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN), a nonprofit organization devoted to furthering advancements in spinal cord injury research and treatment, has named Brandi Kurka as its new executive director, it was announced today by CPN Chairman and Founder Sam Schmidt.
As CPN Executive Director, Kurka will be responsible for overseeing every facet of the organization including administration, fund raising, donor and sponsor development, government interaction and media relations.
Now in its 20th year, Conquer Paralysis Now is a leading authority on spinal cord injury research and treatment backed by an international coalition of medical doctors, research scientists and business leaders who share a singular goal: Finding a cure for paralysis.
“Brandi has been part of my team for more than eight years serving people with physical disabilities and, most recently, as executive director of our DRIVEN NeuroRecovery Center here in Las Vegas,” Schmidt said. “She knows our work at CPN as well as anybody and is a great fit as our new Executive Director. Her experience, compassion and understanding of the challenges faced by spinal-cord injured people will serve her well in leading our efforts to increase support for CPN to find a cure for paralysis and support those with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.”
In her capacity as executive director of DRIVEN, Kurka helped formulate the plans and launch the Las Vegas center where individuals with disabilities can improve their physical, mental and emotional health, increase independence, and enhance their overall quality of life using a holistic approach to wellness. Kurka will continue to oversee DRIVEN, an extension of Conquer Paralysis Now, as part of her new role as CPN Executive Director.
Prior to DRIVEN, Kurka was a regional director for CPN and previously served as exercise therapist and executive assistant to Schmidt. Kurka attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania for her B.S. in Exercise Science, and Slippery Rock University for her M.S. in Adapted Physical Activity. She has been working with people with disabilities for more than 15 years in various settings including exercise therapy for individuals with neurological conditions, adapted sports, personal care, community homes, and recreational therapy.
“Conquer Paralysis Now and the Sam Schmidt Foundation have been part of my life for many years and I am so proud to now lead CPN as its executive director,” Kurka said. “CPN has made so many strides in seeking a cure for paralysis and helping those with spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions. What we have accomplished at DRIVEN in such a short time is just an example of what CPN can do and we will look for opportunities to grow the foundation and increase our success toward finding a cure for paralysis. I want to thank Sam and the board of directors for trusting me to lead the foundation and grow the entire organization.”
CPN is hosting an online virtual experience #StandWithSam 20th Anniversary Gala on August 20 at 7 pm EDT/4 pm PDT in recognition of our inception as the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. The free online event will reflect the goals of CPN’s annual “Racing to Recovery” Gala in generating support for CPN and its mission. The event will feature inspirational stories about Sam and the many people who have been helped by the foundation through the years, as well as participants from the racing world such as Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Jimmie Johnson and other celebrities. It will include live entertainment and both live and silent auctions featuring many valuable items.
For more information about how to participate in the #StandWithSam online virtual experience visit www.storybook.link/standwithsam.
The #StandWithSam 20th Anniversary Gala sponsors are Arrow, BraunAbility, Amish Country Gazebos and Firestone.
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About Sam Schmidt
Sam Schmidt is a resident of the Las Vegas area. He was a driver in the Indy Racing League before suffering an injury in practice in January 2000 in which he sustained a C-3/4/5 spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. He created the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF) that year to raise funds for medical research, innovative equipment used for rehabilitation, and quality-of-life issues. In 2014, the foundation was rebranded as Conquer Paralysis Now with a mission to cure paralysis while assisting those who are already disabled. To date in total, the organizations have invested more than $14 million in research and programs looking to cure paralysis and support people with disabilities to live better lives.
Today, besides chairing Conquer Paralysis Now, Sam is a highly successful business person and Indy Racing League owner with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
About Conquer Paralysis Now
Conquer Paralysis Now is a 501c3 nonprofit devoted to furthering advancements in spinal cord injury research and treatment. Backed by an international coalition of medical doctors, research scientists and business leaders, CPN is motivated by a singular goal of finding a cure for paralysis – that is, restoring important functions for those living with spinal cord injuries. For more information visit the CPN website at ConquerParalysisNow.org.
DRIVEN is a multidisciplinary center located at 701 E. Bridger Avenue, Las Vegas, NV, where individuals with disabilities can improve their physical, mental and emotional health, increase independence, and enhance their overall quality of life using a holistic approach to wellness. DRIVEN provides options for individuals with disabilities to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. DRIVEN’s goal is to fill in the gaps in Southern Nevada and provide options for those with limited mobility. While offering a variety of new opportunities, DRIVEN will also coordinate with existing programs in the area that cater to this population to ensure that all of their needs are met. It is an extension of Conquer Paralysis Now, a 501c3 non-profit organization. For more information, visit the DRIVEN website at www.drivenlv.org.