Celebrating A Magical Evening 2022

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on August 12, 2022 # Events

For over 30 years, the Reeve Foundation has eagerly anticipated the energy and inspiration that fills the room at its annual gala, A Magical Evening. Year after year, the gala celebrates the remarkable progress in spinal cord injury research and quality of life initiatives. More than ever before, this year’s event will be undeniably magical as it marries the 40th anniversary of the Foundation with the return of the in-person gala, the first time in three years.

On November 10, Cipriani South Street will be vibrant with hundreds of guests and community members that share the same dream as Christopher and Dana – a world of empty wheelchairs. Keeping that dream alive present day are this year’s heroic honorees - Eric LeGrand who will accept the Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award and Julie Neustadt who will receive the Dana Reeve Hope Award.

It’s kismet that LeGrand and Neustadt are the honorees for such a monumental year. While they both possess amiable and gregarious personalities, the Herculean efforts they put forth to advocate for the paralysis community is immeasurable. They recognize that no one achieves a dream alone and have been moved to help others by their personal experiences and close relationship to the Foundation.


A former defensive tackle for Rutgers University, Eric LeGrand sustained a spinal cord injury during a special teams play in October 2010. Through determination and grit that he conditioned within himself as an athlete, LeGrand made drastic improvements doctors deemed impossible. He has adopted a personal manta, bELieve, which has created a movement of hope for countless individuals.

In the 12 years since his injury, LeGrand has become the face of courage. He has a storied career launching Team LeGrand (a fundraising arm of the Reeve Foundation,) earning his Bachelors degree from Rutgers, serving as a sports analyst for national networks, venturing into successful business endeavors, and has been widely recognized for his relentless ambition. LeGrand is carrying Christopher Reeve’s legacy forward with his contagious positivity, transforming inconceivable challenges into opportunities for unity and change.

Julie Neustadt is a quiet, yet prominent force undaunted by her circumstances. She is a dedicated Reeve Foundation board member, empathetic peer mentor, tireless volunteer, and a fiercely committed activist in the Chicago area. Living with a spinal cord injury from a traumatic swimming accident in a Missouri lake nearly 20 years ago, Neustadt has advocated vigorously through the unthinkable.

Soon after her injury occurred, Neustadt and her family turned to the Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center. They were met with invaluable support and information to guide them through an unfamiliar reality. The support they received in those early days is what motivates them to pay it forward today. Neustadt’s decades-long pursuit to support the Foundation’s mission is buoyed by her innate desire to push for progress, while living with hope.

We hope to see you on November 10 at the Magical Evening gala as we celebrate the 40-year history of the Reeve Foundation and the groundbreaking work of Today’s Care. Tomorrow’s Cure. and the progress that lies ahead.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.