Sam Schmidt has been hosting a charity event to find a cure for spinal cord injuries ever since he was rendered a quadriplegic 20 years ago and while it’s going to take a little different shape this year because of the pandemic, the inspirational IndyCar owner remains gung-ho about the first-ever virtual party on Aug. 20.
“I wouldn’t be here today, period, without the support of the motorsports community,” said Schmidt in a press release for Conquer Paralysis Now that hosts #StandWithSam 20th Anniversary Gala at 7 p.m. three nights before the 104th Indianapolis 500. “The community has always provided an incredible amount of encouragement and motivation, in addition to tremendous financial support, which has always kept our foundation going. It really is a family.
“This being the 20th anniversary of the Gala. I never certainly thought I’d live this long, let alone be able to continue my pursuit of winning on the racetrack. To also be able to make an impact in the lives of so many individuals with disabilities these past 20 years is just a blessing.”
Race fans can may sign up for free to virtually attend and there is also an option to to host a watch party as well. A VIP virtual cocktail party package includes bottles of Pianetta Special Label wine, CPN 20th anniversary wine glasses and Bloomin’ Brands gift cards for two ($150 for the VIP package), six ($450) or 12 people ($900), but they are limited in quantity and must be secured by Monday, Aug. 3. A variety of event sponsorship levels remain available as well.
Racing icons like Mario Andretti, Roger Penske, Jimmie Johnson, Simon Pagenaud and Arie Luyendyk will be on hand during the virtual VIP event with live and silent auctions.
“The more I’m getting into this virtual event production, it’s pretty cool,” said Schmidt, who has raised nearly $18 million since his IndyCar testing accident at Orlando. “The ability to bring in the guest appearances from a number of people that could not have participated live is fantastic, and to be able to tell our story in an organized fashion and what we have accomplished over the last 20 years. To have the Gala combined with watch parties around the country, it literally opens it up to so many more supporters who have wanted to attend past Galas but could never physically attend. I’m pretty excited about it. Hopefully, it reaches an even bigger market than we did with our in-person events in the past.”
For more information about how to participate in the #StandWithSam online virtual experience, visit www.storybook.link/standwithsam. Sponsors of the #StandWithSam 20th Anniversary Gala are Arrow, BraunAbility, Amish Country Gazebos and Firestone.