Heuga Center’s NYC benefit honors champions | VailDaily.com

Heuga Center’s NYC benefit honors champions

Susie Kincade
Vail Valley residents Aubyn Howe, Andy and Lucinda Daly at the benefit dinner.

The Edwards-based Heuga Center kicked off its 20th Anniversary year, Oct. 20th, in New York City with a gala dinner in honor of skiing great, Billy Kidd.

The Edwards-based Heuga Center kicked off its 20th Anniversary year, Oct. 20th, in New York City with a gala dinner in honor of skiing great, Billy Kidd. Presented by Rolex Watch, USA Inc., the 18th Annual Heuga Center Autumn Benefit dinner attracted former Olympic and national ski team racers from around the world to help honor Kidd for his lifelong support of his friend Jimmie Heuga and The Heuga Center, which provides educational-wellness programs for people with multiple sclerosis, better known as MS.

Guests from as far as Oregon, California, Florida and Vail, attended the black-tie dinner which is one of the largest fund-raisers for the Center. CBS newsman, Harry Smith, presided as master of ceremonies.

Sponsors for the Autumn Benefit included Sports Illustrated, Coca Cola, John and Genie Mule, Liberty Media Corp., MAGNA Global USA and Hart Skis.

In addition to The Heuga Center’s 20th birthday, the coming year also marks the 40th Anniversary of the 1964 Olympics where Kidd and Heuga won the first ever U.S. men’s Olympic ski medals, taking silver and bronze respectively, in the slalom.

The two are lifelong friends and Kidd is a dedicated supporter of The Heuga Center.

In honor of the ’64 Olympic anniversary, the slalom gold medalist, Austrian

Pepi Stiegler, also attended the dinner. The three medalists were joined by

skiing greats, Stein Erickson, Moose Barrows, Rebel Ryan, Jean Saubert, Bill

Marolt and the 1964 US Ski Team coach, Bob Beattie.

The camaraderie amongst the athletes overflowed to the 170 dinner guests, creating a festive and warm atmosphere. Speakers hailed Heuga, chided Kidd and reminisced about skiing days of the past.

Ironically, Stiegler also has MS and has benefited from his former rival’s legacy, The Heuga Center.

The Heuga Center is a nonprofit organization, founded by Jimmie Heuga after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was just 26 years old.

Heuga developed a revolutionary approach to dealing with the chronic disease, based on exercise, emotional and mental well-being, and his success led him to create The Heuga Center in 1984.

The Center’s CAN DO Programs teach people with MS and their families how to live successful, productive lives by focusing on what they “can do” instead of what they cannot. The programs have transformed the lives of thousands of people over the years.

Past CAN DO Program participant, Millie Cinquemano, of New York, offered her moving testimony about the education and hope she gained. In her speech she said she is currently trying to raise seed money to help bring the CAN DO Program to New York so that her many friends who also have MS can benefit from it.

By the end of the evening, several guests had anonymously pledged a total of more than $60,000 to support a CAN DO Program in New York.

“It was an incredibly generous show of support for our mission of promoting health and creating hope for people and families living with MS,” said a jubilant Brian Hutchinson, president of The Heuga Center. “Those who have benefited from our programs are truly our best spokespeople because they can convey the deep impact our work has on their lives. We will be delighted to bring the CAN DO Program to the New York area with the help of funds generated at the Autumn Benefit.”

Currently The Heuga Center has six Programs scheduled for 2004, two in Vail – in May and October – one in New York and three others still to be determined. Typically, the Heuga Center conducts its world-renowned program in collaboration with local MS organizations across the U.S. and Canada. The Center draws on a cadre of more than 100 MS specialists from around the country to staff its programs.

For more information about The Heuga Center, please call 1-800-361-3101 or visit http://www.heuga.org.

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