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One of Petaluma fundraiser's goals is helping teen injured in Lake Tahoe diving accident

  • Danny Cox, the Petaluma teen-ager who was paralyzed after diving into Lake Tahoe, listens to a proclamation being read by Mayor Pamela Torliatt during the 23rd annual Carousel Fund Casino Night held at the Petaluma Veteran's Memorial, Oct. 2, 2010.

Danny Cox, the Petaluma teenager who was paralyzed Aug. 10 in a Lake Tahoe diving accident, got a standing ovation at his homecoming Saturday at the annual Carousel Fund Casino Night.

Wearing a black athletic suit, Cox rolled his wheelchair onto the stage at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building as hundreds of guests in evening gowns and tuxedos cheered and clapped.

"We love you Danny," yelled one guest.

Carousel Fund Casino Night

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Cox smiled and said only a few words.

"Thank you to Arnie for everything he's done for me," he said. "Have a great night everybody."

Cox is one of several young people who will benefit from the proceeds raised at Saturday night's event. The Carousel Fund is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to raising money to help families with children who suffer catastrophic illness.

Cox, a former track athlete at Petaluma High School, was about to begin fire science classes at Santa Rosa Junior College when he broke his neck at Lake Tahoe in August when he ran into the lake and dove into shallow water. But the exact cause of his spinal injury is not known.

An estimated $400,000 in medical and rehabilitation bills will be covered by insurance. But there will be another $100,000 in expenses and supporters have been organizing fund-raising events to help.

Arnie Cohen, president of the board of directors of the Carousel Fund, said Cox's story has generated a great deal of interest among those who regularly donate money to the fund. The event, Cohen said, "is much bigger this year."

It was Cox's public appearance in Petaluma since being hospitalized, and Mayor Pam Torliatt presented him with a city proclamation welcoming the teen back to Petaluma with "heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery."


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