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One man’s dream, $9.4 million for charity Jerry Segal’s ‘labor of love’ raises millions to benefit patients at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

One man with quadriplegia. One dream. One day. $9.4 million raised for charity.

Jerry Segal, a Philadelphia attorney, and his friends have come together annually over the last 20 years and raised $9.4 million to support the patients of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital through the Jerry Segal Classic golf outing, held this year for the 21st time on September 24 at Green Valley and ACE country clubs.

The Segal Classic is operated by 38 volunteers and has managed to raise seven figures in each of the last two years it was held for the 96-bed rehabilitation hospital.

All in effort to give back.

Jerry Segal underwent neck surgery in California in 1988. When he awoke, he couldn’t scratch an itch on his forehead. The spinal column at the tip of his neck had been touched during surgery, leaving him with quadriplegia. The center city attorney was transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and he became determined to rehabilitate and walk out of the hospital. Three months later, Segal did just that. And, he was able to return to work and playing golf with friends.

“Magee is three blocks from my office and I passed it everyday, but never knew what it was,” said Segal. “Thank God it was there.”

Since leaving Magee, Segal has dedicated himself to raising money to help its patients with spinal cord injuries, strokes and other impairments to reach their maximum level of independence. A few days each week, he visits Magee and shares his story with patients, inspiring them to work as hard as they can.
While words of encouragement help, having the proper resources is necessary for Magee’s patients to succeed.

That’s where the Segal Classic comes in.

Back in 1990 Segal, his wife Carolyn and some of thier friends held a golf outing for Magee that raised $56,000. Little did Jerry know that it would become the largest single-day charity golf event in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Now, the Segal Clasic features Gov. Edward Rendell, as honorary chair and the chance to swing a club and interact with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, NBA Hall-of-Famer Billy Cunningham, former NHL standouts Bernie Parent and Dave Schultz, former Eagle Mike Mamula, and local TV and radio personalities Scott Palmer, and Howard Eskin.

“It’s a labor of love,” said Segal. “I have no problem when it comes to asking people to support Magee so they can improve the lives of their patients who are now in similar conditions to me.”
Among the major accomplishments of the Segal Classic is the creation of the Jerry&Carolyn Segal Center for Community Skills. This rooftop streetscape at Magee helps patients prepare to overcome real-life obstacles such as potholes, manhole covers, cobblestone, curbs of varying heights, going to a mailbox and getting in and out of a car.

“When I left the hospital, I initially had some issues with traveling along sidewalks,” said Segal. “The world isn’t made of linoleum flooring like a hospital.”

Other things the Classic has funded include:
• New vans to transport patients;
• New equipment such as a new treadmill for locomotor training, wheelchairs, cushions;
• Reotherapy which is a state of the art, robotic technology that is used for improving upper extremity function in patients that have experienced ceverbrovascular accidents and other neurological conditions
• The Segal Family and Friends Meal Program which has provided nearly 50,000 meals for family members so patients can eat with their loved ones;
• Subsidize guest housing at the Windsor Hotel so family members can stay near their loved ones during rehabilitation; and
• Subsidize peer-mentor programs.

Ironically, in March of 2010, Segal was diagnosed and treated for encephalitis which had affected his brain and his spinal cord. Finding himself a patient once again at Magee, Segal ended up using some of the very same equipment the Segal Classic had provided.

The 20th annual Jerry Segal Classic is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24, at Green Valley and ACE country clubs. Registration starts for golf at 9:00am. Cocktails, program and auction starts at 5:00pm at Green Valley. For more information, visit SegalClassic.com.

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, founded in 1958, is a 96-bed specialty medical rehabilitation hospital providing physical and cognitive rehabilitation services. Magee’s flagship facility is located in Center City Philadelphia. In addition to the main campus that offers comprehensive services for spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, orthopedic replacement, amputation, pain management and work injury, Magee provides an expanding out-patient network serving the surrounding communities. In 1985, Magee’s brain injury rehabilitation program became the first in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Magee partnered with Jefferson Hospital to create one of the nation’s 14 federally designated centers for spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Magee has been rated one of America’s leading rehabilitation hospitals by U.S. News&World Report. Magee provides treatment to more than 5,000 individuals annually. Magee is authorized to treat wounded military personnel returning from war. Magee is not an Obligated Group Affiliate.

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Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 587-3363