Orthopaedic Foundation 15th Anniversary Star-Studded Gala

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Born of the need to promote and encourage research and education in the field of orthopaedics and sports medicine, the Orthopaedic Foundation was established in 2002 with a focus on innovation to better manage osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases, prevent injury to individuals across the spectrum of activity, and develop minimally invasive treatments with shorter recovery times, with the aim of keeping our world active and pain free. During different stages of our lives, we may not always feel as though our bodies are able to keep up with our spirit. Whether it’s due to injury, illness or the natural progression of age, the active and sometimes adventurous lifestyle we are accustomed to enjoying may be slowed down or even halted.

For the celebration of the 15th Anniversary Gala of the Orthopaedic Foundation on November 21 at The St. Regis in NYC, it is only fitting, that the organization honors two top athletes, chefs and insurance brokers all who use their bodies throughout the long day. I had a chance to catch up with Dr. Kevin Plancher who started the foundation as well the honorees. I feel honored to have had the pleasure to speak with each of them personally and gain further insight to who they’re as well as their inspirational journey which has brought them to where they’re today. 

MJ: How did you come to start the foundation?

  1. Plancher: In 2002, I was honored to be approached, and thought there was a need to give back to the medical community after being given the opportunity by my mentors to be trained as an orthopaedic surgeon. I realized prevention to injuries, creating procedures with shorter recovery time and encouraging patients to go beyond their expectation and return to as many activities as possible is much needed research. We started small and gave doctors a chance to improve their skills by creating one of the first Bioskills Labs. As we grew, we added PhD’s to educate clinicians on the importance of clinical research and how to ask and answer meaningful clinical questions to get answers on how to improve patient’s lives. We created a Board of non- physicians to guide us in the community on how to give back. We remain passionate about helping everyone to achieve and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to STAY IN THE GAME FOR LIFE. 

MJ: What programs have you funded? 

Dr. Plancher: We have developed several programs.

AAOS International Scholars Program – We have provided scholarships to recipients from third world countries and developing nations.

ACGME Sports Medicine Fellowship Program – This program allows us to transform a graduating resident both in the US and across the globe during a one year fellowship to be mentored by multiple world-renown faculty and leaders to perfect their skill set in sports medicine and operative techniques and to learn how to appropriately interact with empathy and pinnacle technical surgical skills in an independent fashion.

Clinical Trials and Research – We enhance patient care through clinical research, whether our own independent research or with industry partners to be pioneers in the development of new techniques and procedures to restore function and allow patients to continue to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. We provide opportunities for the community to participate in pharmacological, cartilage and arthroplasty and cutting-edge developmental research in the hope of aiding all individuals with musculoskeletal diseases. 

Doctor for a Day Program – Our flagship program now in its 15th year, empowers young children in grades 8 through 12 to learn how to work together to rebuild the forearm in an OR simulation experience, exposing these young minds to the field of medicine and laying the groundwork for hopefully the pursuit of a career in medicine, providing opportunities for children of many diverse backgrounds to develop a lifelong love of education and self- learning. 

Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Research Internships – Year long or summer opportunities for high school, college and pre- med students to work with a cadre of PhDs scientists to learn how to develop and carry out a research project while shadowing during clinical hours in orthopedists office, enriching their real world and life experiences. 

MJ: Can you share one of your biggest success stories today of someone you helped and inspired through your efforts?

Dr. Plancher: Johnny E, a young man who enjoyed athletics, attended our Doctor for a Day program in the 9th grade. His curious mind returned to participate in one of our sports medicine research internships never having a mentor in his life he returned multiple summers to watch clinical office hours of an orthopaedic surgeon. He applied and successfully completed college and excelled to apply to a combined accelerated medical school program in NYC and has pursued an orthopaedic residency. Now, many years later, he is close to graduating and beginning his career as an orthopaedic surgeon. His maturity level that was recognized at an early age, but never having been given opportunities has inspired the foundation to ALWAYS SEARCH for those individuals needing a chance in life.

MJ: What makes the upcoming gala different from the others?

 Dr. Plancher: Many organization never have sustainability. It is the generosity of the community of patients and those intrigued with a desire to stay in the Game for Life that afforded us the opportunity to have 15 years of Honorees. We are PROUD to honor individuals with VISION, whether from athleticism, political greatness, leadership or personal triumph. The Orthopaedic Foundation promotes and salutes a healthy and active lifestyle.

 The Annual Gala of the Orthopaedic Foundation is unique whether it’s because of the celebrity chefs that offer multiple courses never seen at other events or honorees that inspire the young children in the world to reach for heights they never imagine possible. We celebrate coming together to INSPIRE future generations to care for all of us as we stay in the GAME FOR LIFE.

MJ: How did you get involved with the Orthopaedic Foundation?

Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado: I got involved with the foundation through my friend Ramon German who is involved with the organization. 

Kevin Weekes:  I got involved through my man Rich Big Daddy who is one of the most connected people in sports and a great friend of 22 years.

Bernard Hopkins: I got involved through Rich Big Daddy who I know for many years.

Victor Muro

How did you get involved with the Orthopaedic Foundation?

My original awareness regarding the Orthopedic Foundation was through a local Staten Island Surgeon named Alan Cheorofsky. A deeper understanding of the foundation and was actually triggered by “BIG DADDY” Rich Salgado.

Several of your constituents are being honored. What makes this night stand out for you amongst the others?

What stands out most for me about this night amongst others is the true cause and focus itself. This is all about the betterment for all individuals and families in need of Pinnacle health care and education. The true heroes of the evening in my candid opinion are ALL of the Surgeons, Doctors, PA’s, RN’s, and dedicated staff that impact and saves lives daily all year round. As far as my fellow honorees, I am lucky and undeserving to share the platform with them, but honored and humbled as they are all legendary in their respective fields.

This gala is going to be well attended. Who can we expect to be there supporting this special night?

Overall, I expect the Gala to be attended by individuals, families, and professionals that personify genuine care, ethics, determination, dignity, and robust family plus community values. My personal guests will be family members, very close friends, my business partner and close friend, MVP Business Associate and close friend, and MY LIFE PARTNER and LOVE (my wife Anne-Marie). I am blessed to have them in my life as well as family members unable to make the event.

What does this recognition mean to you?

The recognition to me is beyond a proud moment. This night clearly is not about me at all…it is about the beneficiaries (many individuals and families) that receive the unprecedented treatment and care levied by the Surgeons, Doctors, PA’s and RN’s. As I stated previously, these medical professionals are dedicated to healing, changing, and saving lives 24/7….I salute everyone of them. Furthermore, I congratulate each of the honorees and thank them for all they did and continue to contribute to their industry and their communities.

Chef Dino Gatto: Through Rich Big Daddy.

Chef Andrew Whitney: I was approached by the Orthopaedic Foundation in early March. There was a recent article written about me in a nationwide magazine. The article highlighted that my inspiration came from my grandmother and her garden when I learned to grow and pick fresh vegetables. My parents regularly cooked family meals and my father and uncle were both in the cooking field. At an early age, the taste for good, fresh, healthy food drove my passion to become a chef.  

MJ: Several of your constituents are being honored. What makes this night stand out for you amongst the others?

Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado: What makes this night stand out is having some of the most recognizable names in the world of sports and business attending the gala to support all the honorees and the great mission of the organization.

Kevin Weekes: You look at all the people in the medical community in terms of practitioners and medical professionals and their selfless care for patients and also, their tireless search for more cures.

Bernard Hopkins: Anytime you’re be recognized for your work, it standsout from all the other nights.

Chef Dino Gatto: This night stands out from many others because of my special recognition for my expertise in the culinary field.

Chef Andrew Whitney: After speaking with the Orthopaedic Foundation and researching the work that they do, I was impressed that they help people of all ages including athletes, professional as well as the recreational athlete – and young adults who have the dream to be a doctor. Believing in healthy living, nutrition and lifestyle was a good fit for my belief as a chef as well as the dishes we offer at Dell ‘anima.

MJ: This gala is going to be well attended. Who can we expect to be there supporting this special night?

Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado: We have some incredible VIP’s who will be attending and the list keeps growing. Former NFL & NHL players, my FOX News colleagues and several other surprises. We have 3 honorees that are recognized nationally. With that being said, I don’t want to reveal the names. There is still time to purchase a table or buy a ticket and join us to find out and of course, support a great cause.

Kevin Weekes: As far as sports and entertainment you can expect Justin Tuck, Roger Goodell, Erik Coleman, Luke Petitgout, DeeMo, Monte Barrett and Zab Judah. 

Bernard Hopkins: There will be so many great friends attending and I appreciate each and every one of them who are coming out and supporting me and the other honorees.

Chef Dino Gatto: The owners from RAO’S will be attending as well as many sports and entertainment people who eat at the restaurant.

Chef Andrew Whitney: Along with my wife, my two partners and co-owners will be attending. We have been spreading the word to our regular customers who will also be attending.

MJ: What does this recognition mean to you?

Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado: I am extremely honored by this recognition. My commitment to working hard and staying true to my core values of giving back is something that I’m proud of. To be recognized with these other great honorees is extremely special. I’m blessed!

Kevin Weekes: I have and had family members who have worked in healthcare and I understand firsthand their tireless work to help people heal and improve their quality of life. As a former athlete and current broadcaster, I understand the value of a team and team starts at home and the communities we serve.

Bernard Hopkins: I’m extremely grateful and fortunate for this recognition. God has given me the ability and talent to use it throughout the years. I’m blessed and honored for this opportunity to be recognized by the Orthopaedic Foundation who is doing tremendous work helping and caring for others.

Chef Dino Gatto: I am honored and grateful for this recognition. It’s not every day that you’re recognized for your talent.  

Chef Andrew Whitney: I am honored by this recognition. I have worked in the restaurant industry since I was 14 and being able to continue throughout my adult career, is a blessing. It is a pleasure to develop healthy recipes for our patrons to enjoy. I am delighted to be sharing one of my dishes at this wonderful event.

MJ: What dishes will you be plating at the Gala?

Chef Dino Gatto: Guests will be enjoying Penne with Eggplant Sauce and Meatballs. A favorite indeed!

Chef Andrew Whitney: I will be plating the Cavelo Nero Salad. (Black kale, roasted pear, apple cider vinaigrette, charred fennel and roasted hazelnuts).  

For those of you that are interested in attending the Orthopaedic Foundation 15th Anniversary Star-Studded Gala and supporting their mission, you can purchase tickets by visiting, http://www.ofals.org/15th-anniversary-gala-invite. I can promise a special evening with great food, wine, excitement and memories that will last a lifetime!

Feel free to be social.






Founder & CEO Indra Public Relations Live With MJ! The Giving Carpet As President and CEO, MJ Pedone has supervisory and strategic control over all functional disciplines of Indra Public Relations. As a former partner and CEO of Pro Players Sports Marketing Group, Inc., MJ served as President of the Sports Marketing Division working with professional athletes to activate PR, marketing, events, nonprofit and branding campaigns across a wide array of corporate platforms. With over two decades of experience, MJ is a result driven leader with B2B and B2C experience and is a seasoned marketing and public relations expert who possesses a unique perspective when it comes to business branding from grassroots to a multimedia level. MJ’s ability to present and articulate comprehensive marketing strategies and complete the loop of communication has always been recognized as exceptional. MJ’s relationships and roster of clients reads like a "who’s who" of professional sports, entertainment and Corporate America. MJ’s forward-thinking approach towards business strategies has led to unique and successful opportunities for her clients. Integrity is the foundation of her values and character and is inherent in the methodology that she has employed in forming her company and trusting relationships. MJ has successfully grown her agency, which was named one of the "Top Celebrity PR Agencies” by PR
Web and has been recognized in a story that ran in Forbes, "How I Made It In A 'Man's' Field: 5 High- Powered Women Tell All." MJ is one of the top female entrepreneurs to receive the Puglia’s Award of Excellence for Public Relations & Nonprofit Leaders as well as the Top Women in Business Award and is expanding globally as her strategic efforts have helped many nonprofit organizations collectively raise millions of dollars throughout the years. MJ is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). MJ was a contributing writer for Media Magnetism and Motivational Speaker 101 in which she wrote the Forewords, is a ghostwriter for the Impact section of the Huffington Post in which she writes on behalf of her notable clients and is the Men’s Fashion Editor for Social Life Magazine. MJ is a sought after speaker and expert panelist who speaks on various topics. She is the host of a high profile celebrity-based podcast, Live With MJ! and is the Co-Founder of the Giving Carpet, a social, philanthropic video news network which focuses exclusively on the charitable efforts of celebrities during high-profile red carpet events and enables supporters to virtually attend and donate funds from anywhere in the world. Moreover, MJ is an investor in the animated film, Henry & Me that stars Richard Gere, Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri, Cyndi Lauper and the cast of the NY Yankees and was released to theaters in August 2014.

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