Churchill Downs Jockey P.J. Cooksey To Be Honored At Lombardi Gala

(WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1st, 2002, 5:30 p.m.) -- The 17th Annual Lombardi Gala, which benefits cancer research at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center, will take place Saturday, November 2, at the Hilton Washington and Towers. The Gala's primary honoree is champion jockey Patricia (P.J.) Cooksey, who will receive the Lombardi Symbol of Courage Award.

Former NFL coach Don Shula will receive the Symbol of Caring Award, and Nancy Chistolini, senior vice president of Hecht's, will receive the Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award.

Mr. Vincent T. Lombardi II will join Gala chair, The Honorable Carol T. Crawford, in honoring this year's Lombardi Symbol of Courage and Symbol of Caring. The Symbol of Courage Award is bestowed each year on a sportsperson who has faced cancer and who possesses the inspirational qualities of late Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the center is named.

"P.J. Cooksey's determination to overcome her battle with breast cancer and return to the sport she had dedicated her life to, is the embodiment of all the Symbol of Courage stands for," said Richard G. Pestell, MD, PhD, new director of Lombardi. "She has returned to her winning ways in the saddle and willingly shares her positive mental attitude -- PMA, as she calls it, with anyone living with cancer."

Cooksey joins a distinguished group of past Symbol of Courage awardees, including four-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong; Joe Torre, manager of the World Series champion New York Yankees; Olympic gold medalist and world champion figure skater Scott Hamilton; and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Eric Davis.

The them for this year's gals is Treasures of the Sea. The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a silent auction of more than 350 items and a cocktail reception in the Exhibit Hall, located on the lower level of the Hilton Washington and Towers, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW. The awards presentation and dinner begin at 8 p.m., followed by a live auction and dancing to Black Tie, a local band.