CARMEL, Ind. - On the eve of the Indianapolis 500, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation held its annual Race to Recovery Gala – a reminder about the dangers inherent in the sport of racing.
IndyCar driver and three-time Indianapolis 500 qualifier Sam Schmidt was left quadriplegic after a crash during practice in 2000.
Today an IndyCar team owner, Schmidt has stayed active in the sport. But more than anything, he tells us he wants to walk again, and says fundraisers like the one held Saturday night will help make that happen.
The guest of honor for Saturday's event, a Hawaiian luau at the Lucas Oil Estates in Carmel, was three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, who suffered his own spinal injury in a career-ending crash last year.
"It's just amazing to me 15 years since I've been hurt the motorsport community still comes out with open hearts and open wallets," Schmidt said.
Organizers for the event said all money raised will go to spinal cord injury research – like the research that made it possible for Schmidt to drive again on Qualifying Day.
"The amazing thing about it is that I felt normal," Schmidt said. "I haven't felt [like that] in 15 years , where I felt normal and in control in that fashion, and driving a Corvette let me do that."
Schmidt says with his family as the motivation, every day he looks forward to walking again.
"I want to get back to normal life," Schmidt said. "I want to be everything I can be for my family. But if we can take a few hundred thousand people with us, that's great."
Last year the event raised $300,000. Even organizers say it's going to take continued support for the private sector to find a cure for paralysis.
Daylight Saving Time 101: Time to fall back
You can tell fall is in the air with cooler temperatures and that means it is nearly time to turn back the clocks.
West-side gunfire leaves 1 hurt
Metro police were looking for those responsible for a man's shooting overnight on the west end of Indianapolis.
Police: Man exposed himself to Columbus woman
A Nashville, Ind., man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly exposed himself to a woman in a Columbus parking lot.
Kokomo toddler dies from gunshot wound
A 9-month-old was pronounced dead Thursday after he was injured by a gunshot wound on Wednesday evening.
Megabus defends safety record in statement
This week, a passenger from the Megabus that crashed on I-65 this month spoke publicly for the first time about the event.
Memorial set for 1 of 7 found dead in Indiana
Relatives of a northern Indiana woman who was one of six women whose bodies were found last weekend in abandoned houses in Gary will gather…