2011 Anapol Advocate Award Winner Announced

Personal injury law firm Anapol Schwartz announced that AJ Nanayakkara is the winner of the 2011 Anapol Advocate Award, for his commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries. As a result, The Anapol Schwartz Foundation (ASF) will donate $5,000 to the Legal Clinic for the Disabled.

When a martial arts injury left him paralyzed at the age of 20, Nanayakkara fought his way back. Ten years later, Nanayakkara is a wheelchair athlete, mentor and community leader. A gold medal winner as a member of the U.S. National Wheelchair Rugby Team at the 2005 World Wheelchair and Amputee Games in Rio de Janeiro, Nanayakkara developed adapted recreation programs across the country and continues to advise the Department of Defense on how to promote Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors. He and his wife founded the Global Abilities Foundation to help people with disabilities in developing areas reintegrate into their communities.

More than 3,000 people voted online to select the winner of the Spinal Cord Injury Advocate Award; a record number for ASF.

Anapol Schwartz Managing Partner Joel Feldman is proud to recognize AJ for his accomplishments. “It is a privilege to announce that AJ Nanayakkara is the 2011 Anapol Advocate Award winner. AJ’s accomplishments since his injury have improved the lives of so many people with disabilities across the world. He is a shining example of what can be accomplished by one person — using an obstacle as a catalyst for positive change. With the selection of his charity, AJ continues to help those suffering from disabilities obtain the chance to lead better and more productive lives.”

Overwhelmed with the accomplishments of all the nominees and their supporters, ASF decided to make additional contributions of $1000 each to the selected charities of the remaining four nominees. Those charities and their respective sponsors are: The Adam Taliaferro Foundation (Adam Taliaferro); The Christopher Reeve Foundation (Dr. Daniel Gottlieb); MossRehab (Harry W. Schwartz, MD); American Spinal Injury Association (MJ Mulcahey).

The 2011 Anapol Advocate Award will be presented to Nanayakkara at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled’s office at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia this month.

For more information about the award, or to arrange to speak with Nanayakkara or Feldman, please contact Curt Heintzelman at 215-429-8950 or Jen Wasilisin at 609-682-4153 or via e-mail at cheintzelman@stargroup1.com or jwasilisin@startoplin.com.

Established in 2008 as a Donor Advised Fund, the ASF assists nonprofits that serve victims and their families and funds research and programs aimed at advancing health and safety. The firm will continue to dedicate additional funds as its wins cases on behalf of consumers and their families. Visit the site for more information on the Anapol Schwartz Foundation.

Founded in 1977, Anapol Schwartz, P.C., is a civil justice law firm with more than 25 attorneys and law offices in Philadelphia, and Harrisburg, Pa., as well as Cherry Hill, N.J., Wheeling, W.Va., and Scottsdale, AZ. The firm has represented individuals in matters ranging from dangerous prescription drugs and medical products and medical negligence, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other personal injury matters.