Spaulding Rehabilitation’s “Stories of Strength” 50th Anniversary Gala a Spectacular Success
On Thursday, September 8th, Spaulding Rehabilitation held Stories of Strength: A Gala Celebration at the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport in honor of its 50th anniversary and the imminent close of its successful Campaign for Spaulding Research Institute. With almost 400 friends and supporters of the hospital in attendance, this landmark event raised nearly $2 million to advance Spaulding’s critical mission in rehabilitation medicine.
Emceed by masters of ceremonies WBZ-TV anchor Lisa Hughes and comedian/actor Lenny Clarke, the evening featured remarks by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker; Mass General Brigham chief operating officer Dr. Ron Walls; and Harvard Medical School dean Dr. George Q. Daley, who shared their personal and professional reflections on Spaulding.
“Because of the grit and the determination, creativity and dedication of everyone at Spaulding, over its history an untold number of people were able to find recovery and hope,” said Governor Baker. “All of us in the Commonwealth are so fortunate to have a world leader in rehabilitative medicine here for us when we need it and to be a champion for people of all abilities.”
“In these moments where you can look back over 50 years of repairing lives, getting people back on track, and giving them hope, everyone at Spaulding should take great pride in being a part of this incredible team,” said Dr. Walls. “And as we look to the next 50 years to come and face some of the unprecedented challenges we are already seeing in medicine, it is a privilege to have Spaulding, with its leadership, expertise, and advocacy, as an integral part of the Mass General Brigham system.”
“Spaulding is an amazing and, in fact, miraculous place,” said Dean Daley. “For more than 50 years, we have been proud at Harvard to have Spaulding in our community to provide extraordinary care for patients but also to push the limits of research and education and, importantly, to elevate rehabilitation to its rightful prominence in medicine.”
Spaulding Chair of the Board of Trustees Paula Ness Speers and Spaulding president Dr. Ross Zafonte also spoke about the institution’s latest achievements and vision for the future, respectively. The evening was particularly meaningful because it not only recognized Spaulding’s five decades of innovation in rehabilitation care, research, and teaching, but was also an opportunity to mark an incredible milestone for the Campaign for Spaulding Research Institute, the largest philanthropic effort in the organization’s history. Speers announced that the Campaign had raised $88.5 million, well exceeding the original $75 million goal before its official close on September 30th.
Launched in 2016, Spaulding Research Institute is now leading the world in groundbreaking science to change the standard of rehabilitation treatments and technologies. The Institute’s five founding Discovery Centers are hubs of research excellence and innovation for priority areas in rehabilitation medicine, including brain injury, chronic pain, musculoskeletal injury, spinal cord injury, and stroke. With support from the Campaign, experts at the Institute are currently conducting hundreds of landmark studies on topics ranging from the concept of resilience in recovery to the therapeutic applications of virtual reality to the long-term recovery from COVID-19—and much more.
Speers also shared that in honor of the unprecedented support and dedication of former Spaulding Board Chair Scott Schoen and his wife, Nancy Adams, that Spaulding Research Institute would be renamed the Schoen Adams Research Institute at Spaulding Rehabilitation. “Scott and Nancy made the largest gift to the Campaign and in Spaulding’s history,” she said. “We cannot thank you enough for your generous commitment to Spaulding. You step up, you stand forward, you support Spaulding every step of the way.”
Dr. Zafonte spoke about the growing need for the type of care Spaulding provides, noting that 1 in 3 people worldwide will need rehabilitation services at some point in their lives, and the hospital’s innovation and leadership in shaping the field. “The story of Spaulding’s future is inextricably linked to honing our excellence in research and training—and to never changing what has been a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility,” he said.
A special highlight of the night was the appearance of Paralympic champion Morgan Stickney, following a video on her inspirational story of recovery at Spaulding as a bilateral amputee. It was an emotional moment that brought the audience to their feet. Stickney—who won two gold medals in swimming for the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics—recognized the contributions of her Spaulding care team, led by physiatrist Dr. David Crandell. “Thank you for helping me get my life back and being one of the most amazing role models,” said Stickney, as she honored him with a gold medal of his own.