A Little Help from My Friends

Austin's food community rallies for Pay It Forward fundraiser with Daniel Curtis

Austin's food community rallies for Pay It Forward fundraiser with Daniel Curtis

On Memorial Day of last year, Austinite Daniel Curtis slipped while diving into his backyard pool, shattering his sixth cervical vertebrae and rendering him a quadriplegic. His lifelong plans of working in the food industry were cut short, and his necessary recovery became the number one focus in his life.

With the help of friends and family and the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, Curtis was able to raise over $65,000 at a single fundraising event two months after his injury that helped pay for his medical expenses that were not covered by health insurance.

After making significant strides in his recovery over the past year, Curtis is now looking to pay it forward, to help other spinal cord injury sufferers who might also find themselves in need of financial assistance.

"Every great story has its conflict and I'm determined to give mine a happy ending," says Curtis. "My new mission in life is to give back, to return all the kind gestures, good deeds and quiet sacrifices that have been made on my behalf."

His next major fundraiser, called Pay It Forward with Daniel Curtis, happens the evening of Aug 21 at the AT&T Executive Center. This very special benefit, hosted by the LSPF, will be a night of auctions, live music from songwriter Kat Edmonson and spectacular food prepared by many of Curtis' friends in the Austin culinary community.

On the list of local food celebrities preparing part of the night's menu are Chef Josh Watkins and Chef Plinio Sandalio from The Carillon, Chef Kenzie Allen of Asti, Chef John Bates from The Noble Pig, Chef David Bull from Congress, Chef Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside, Chef Callie Speer from Swift's Attic, Chef Philip Speer of Uchi and Uchiko, Chef Shane Stark of Kenichi and The Tipsy Texan's David Alan.

An early VIP portion of the evening begins at 6 p.m. with a happy hour reception with the award-winning chefs and a chance to make early bids on auction items. Otherwise, dinner, music and a special presentation from Daniel Curtis will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are available now.

With this list of chefs, a soundtrack from one of Austin's greatest live performers and a noble cause, this is a night of inspiration you won't soon forget.

Austin photo: News_Pay It Forward_Poster
Austin photo: News_Pay It Forward_Daniel Curtis
Philanthropist and foodie Daniel Curtis