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Benefit Honors Injured BC Alum

Heights Editor

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

On Dec. 8, a comedy benefit will be held for Dale Ahn, BC ’12, who suffered a severe C5 cervical spinal cord injury in 2011. The Ahn family will be partnering with the non-profit Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to present the benefit, Stand Up for a Cure. The benefit is in honor of individuals who face spinal cord injuries and paralysis, and features four comedians from the Gotham Comedy Club in New York and Caroline’s on Broadway.

Last year, Ahn underwent multiple surgeries after his accident. Against staggering odds, the BC alum survived the injury and spent several months in extensive rehabilitation. The Ahn family hopes to raise money to assist Ahn’s rehabilitation fees.

“The first few weeks were pretty much a blur to me,” Ahn said in an email. “My mind and body were in a state of shock due to my injury, not to mention pneumonia too. However, I do remember that my family was by my side day and night. Fortunately for me, that hasn’t changed. But because of the extent of my injury and some further complications, I stayed at the hospital in the intensive care unit for a month. And today, over a year later, I am happily living back home in Queens, N.Y. I am still rehabbing, but only twice a week for physical therapy, at the NYU Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine.”

The Ahn family has committed to raise $10,000 on Saturday night to benefit both the Christopher Reeve Foundation for Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis and Ahn’s continued rehabilitation. Some of the money raised from the benefit will help purchase a wheelchair-accessible van for Ahn. Lisa Ahn, co-chair of Stand Up for a Cure and Dale Ahn’s sister, has been behind much of the planning.

“We are so very grateful for the Reeve Foundation’s support through Dale’s injury, and we find it very important to give back to the same community that advocates on Dale’s behalf every day,” Lisa Ahn said in an email. “When we first started thinking about the event, ‘Stand Up for a Cure,’ my good friend and comedian Joe Masse was integral in the planning. He was able to recruit the other very talented and funny comics, Zach McGovern, Amy Carlson, and Thomas Dale.”

The comedians have volunteered their time for the benefit. Lisa Ahn also worked with Stephen Maly, a friend and co-founder of Libation of NYC. Maly helped to organize the venue and event’s staff. He and several other volunteers have played an integral part in planning the benefit.

“So far, we have been so very lucky to have the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation work so very closely with us to make our event as successful as it possibly could be,” Lisa Ahn said. “In addition, the Columbia University Graduate School Advisory Counsel and e-commerce solution OpenSky so kindly provided us with our start-up funds - Dream Water, Krave Jerky and 4Imprint provided us with great items to fill our goodie bags. Finally, Berard, Cuisipro, Water Taxi, Per Se, NYSC, Portofino, Kiehl’s, Club Quarters ,and World Center Hotel provided some awesome items for raffle and giveaways.”

The Ahn family is expecting over 300 attendees, many of which include BC alums. They hope, with such a turnout, to reach their fundraising goal of $10,000.

“The attendees are wide and varied,” Lisa Ahn said, “and are comprised of BC alums, family, my sister’s coworkers and their network at PhotoShelter, my brother’s friends from his internship at OpenSky, my brother’s high school friends, my coworkers from Weill Cornell Medical College, friends and graduate students from Columbia University, individuals from the Christopher Reeve Foundation, and friends of friends.

“The two things I’ve learned through this is that there are so many people and organizations that are happy to help support this wonderful cause and Dale, and that when you truly believe in making something happen, nothing can stop you—I learned this from Dale. It has been both an incredible and humbling experience.”

The “Ahn-Tourage” hopes that Stand Up for a Cure will create some laughs while also raising awareness for those suffering from spinal cord injuries.

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