(CHICAGO) – An impressive lineup of some of Chicago's best-known professional athletes will take center stage to receive honors at the 16th annual Fox Sports Net Sports Awards benefiting the March of Dimes. The dinner will be held February 10, 2003, at the Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe. Entertainment personality and host of Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," Tom Arnold, will return for his second year to emcee the telecast. Fox Sports Net will air this taped televised event following the Bulls game on Tuesday, February 18.
The honorees include top athletes from Chicago's professional teams. They are chosen based on their contributions to their teams and the Chicago community. This year's honorees include Jalen Rose of the Bulls, Mark Buehrle of the White Sox, Mark Prior of the Cubs, Anthony Thomas of the Bears, DaMarcus Beasley of the Fire, and Alex Zhamnov of the Blackhawks. Allie Johnson of Western Springs, IL, will receive the "Toyota Inspirational Athlete of the Year" award. This year's "Mercedes-Benz Lifetime Achievement" award will be presented to former Chicago Bears star and Pro Football Hall of Fame honoree, Dan Hampton. The event also features a silent auction and sweepstakes.
One of the highlights of the evening is the presentation of the "Toyota Inspirational Athlete of the Year" award. This year's honoree, Allie Johnson, is an energetic eight-year-old with a congenital deficiency of the right arm at the elbow. She has only a partial joint in the right shoulder, which does not allow for a successful fitting of a prosthetic device. She also has a deficiency of the left arm, Radial Ulnar Syntosis, which means the forearm bones are fused together, not allowing the arm to rotate in either direction. However, Allie doesn't feel she's disabled. Although her arm is different from other people, she fails to think her condition in any way should limit her abilities or attitude.
Allie is an enthusiastic participant in several sporting activities who has competed with able-bodied athletes in the AYSO soccer program, the Elite Gymnastics tumbling and trampoline team, and as a diver on a local swim team. She is currently involved in the Cowboy Dreams equestrian program sponsored by the Rehab Institute of Chicago. Allie lives with her parents Laurie and Mark Johnson and her two younger siblings and attends second-grade at Forest Hills School in Western Springs.
Prior to the telecast, guests will have a chance to place bids on an exceptional variety of silent auction items featuring:
- autographed sports memorabilia
- tickets to Chicago professional sporting events
- a one-week stay for ten at an Arrowhead condo
- a chance to create and name your own ice cream flavor at Capannari Ice Cream
John Grissim of Lincoln Properties is the honorary chair of the Fox Sports Net Sports dinner and ceremony. William T. Barry, Senior Vice President of Draper & Kramer, Inc. and a board member of the March of Dimes Illinois Chapter, is chairperson of the event.
Now in its 16th year under the guidance of Fox Sports Net Chicago's Senior Vice President/General Manager James J. Corno, the Fox Sports Net Sports Awards has raised more than $2.5 million for the March of Dimes.
The event will begin with a reception at 5:00 PM, followed by the dinner at 6:30 PM and awards ceremony at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $200 per person. Tables with preferred seating for 10 are $2,500 each. Proceeds will benefit the March of Dimes, a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.
Fox Sports Net will telecast this event following the Chicago Bulls-Cleveland Cavaliers game on Tuesday, February 18 (approx. 8:30 PM).
Fox Sports Net Chicago reaches more than 3.8 million households in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. Fox Sports Net Chicago is managed by Rainbow Sports Networks, a division of Cablevision's Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. Fox Sports Net Chicago's programming includes Chicago Blackhawks hockey, Chicago Bulls basketball, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs baseball, along with select NASCAR and PGA Tour coverage.
A leader in sports, news and entertainment programming, Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC). Rainbow owns and manages AMC, WE: WOMEN'S ENTERTAINMENT, IFC (The Independent Film Channel), muchmusic usa, Mag Rack, Rainbow Sports Networks, News 12 Networks, and MetroChannels as well as the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. Rainbow is a fifty-percent partner in Fox Sports Net and has a strategic partnership with MGM (NYSE:MGM), which owns a 20% stake in three of Rainbow's national networks: AMC, WE: Women's Entertainment and IFC.