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Omar Lugones

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My parents & I on my 1st birthday ------------------------ Nick & Marc Buoniconti

I have a soft spot for father/son stories. My own father passed away in 2009, and I still feel like so much was left unsaid and undone. I often find myself in a moment of reflection: appreciating what was, and lamenting what could have been. I also find myself observing other fathers and sons, and wondering if they really understand how powerful their bond can be. I was recently reintroduced to one story that reminded me of the limitless power of that bond—the story of Nick and Marc Buoniconti.

If you grew up in Miami, like I did, and you were around in the 1980s, it's hard to forget that devastating moment when Marc Buoniconti, son of legendary Miami Dolphins linebacker, Nick Buoniconti, suffered a severe spinal cord injury while making a tackle for The Citadel in a game against East Tennessee State. The injury not only left Marc paralyzed, he was initially given days to live. Nick refused to accept this. He promised his son they would fight. Out of that promise, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund were born.

Nearly 30 years later, Marc is, in his words, not just 'surviving,' but 'thriving!' This is a credit to his own unwavering spirit, his family's unconditional love and support, and a brilliant team of scientists led by Dr. Barth Green. The Miami Project, the spinal cord research center founded by Dr. Green and Nick Buoniconti is also thriving. What the center has accomplished in those 30 years is nothing short of a miracle. Most recently, it performed the first ever FDA approved Schwann Cell transplantation on a spinal cord injury patient--the most important development ever on the road to finding a cure for paralysis. To learn more about this major medical breakthrough,visit

I had the honor of meeting Nick Buoniconti for the first time, this past summer, when my wife and I were invited to a screening of the documentary, 'An Unbreakable Bond.' If you haven't had a chance to see this remarkable film, directed by Emilio Estefan, take a moment to read about it and view the trailer at After watching this film, and speaking with Mr. Buoniconti, I don't simply believe The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis will find a cure--I know it will. It's just a matter of when. Until then, every dollar raised by The Buoniconti Fund brings the team one step closer to that cure.

So, as I approach the big 4-0, I share my birthday wish with all of you. In honor of the power of the bond between fathers and sons, I'm inviting you to help me support an organization built on that power.

Please help me stand up for those who can't.

Please donate to The Buoniconti Fund today.

Help me #payit40.

Thank you.

Omar Lugones
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