INDIANAPOLIS, June 23– The numbers are in and this year’s Racing to Recovery Gala to benefit Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) was a tremendous success, generating a net result of $319,000 to help fund research to eventually find a cure for spinal cord injury (SCI) paralysis.

The results were released by CPN (formerly the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation) following last month’s 17th annual Gala at the Crane Bay in Indianapolis. The figure represents a 49% increase over funds raised during last year’s event.

“This is a very exciting development that gives us great momentum in our quest to find a cure,” says CPN Chairman of the Board Sam Schmidt. “I personally want to thank everyone for their generosity and belief in our ambitious goals. We are more determined than ever thanks to your support.”

See a video recap of the Racing to Recovery Gala here.

Schmidt is a former IndyCar driver, now successful team owner, who was paralyzed in an accident at Walt Disney World Motor Speedway in 2000. That same year, he founded the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, which initially raised money to fund medical research and provide access to rehabilitation equipment and services to those in need.

In 2014, Sam announced a new name and a new mission for his foundation. Conquer Paralysis Now and the CPN Challenge were launched to find a cure for paralysis by driving the development of treatments for spinal cord injuries to help patients regain such every day functions as standing, reaching and grasping, and bowel and bladder control. The CPN Challenge program plans to award nearly 20 million dollars in grants and prizes over the next decade.

Stage 1, round 1 CPN Challenge prizes have already been awarded to ten researchers for their unconventional, disruptive approaches. One of the research grants was awarded to Dr. Samy Meroueh, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The $50,000 research grant to Dr. Meroueh was awarded as part of the CPN Challenge Lone Star Foundation Collaboration Award.

CPN’s Science Advisory Council selected the first round’s grant recipients from a pool of 100 applicants representing 80 institutions and more than 25 countries. The next phase of CPN Challenge winners will be announced in the coming months. Learn more about the CPN Challenge here.