When Christopher Reeve became paralyzed 25 years ago, spinal cord injury was launched into the public eye. Paralysis can happen to anyone anywhere. There are 18,000 new injuries in the United States every year. It is a community no one expects to join. When we become a part of it – the fear, suffering, pain, & emotional despair is more than we think possible to bear. But, we also discover strength, the capacity to overcome mental and physical adversity, and an appreciation and outlook on life we never knew was possible. We experience a healthcare system in need of change, a research community in need of a road map for collaboration and funding, and a paralysis community fighting for a voice for advocacy.
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation has been the primary force behind advocacy for these issues ever since its creation, and it will continue to be the guiding light in the ongoing effort for both cure and care for years to come. The inaugural Reeve Summit brought researchers, physicians, rehabilitation centers, spinal cord injury survivors, and advocates together for three days in Washington D.C. to discuss cure, care, and the future of spinal cord injury research and awareness. Keynote addresses were made by Christopher Reeve’s daughter, and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors Alexandra Reeve Givens, Chief Scientific Officer Ethan Pearlstein, and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.
While still a long way from a cure – the spinal cord injury world is at an exciting time as research and knowledge of both neurorecovery and rehabilitative interventions are advancing. It’s important for scientists and researchers to challenge each other , but also communicate and collaborate for CURE and CARE. In the meantime, the paralysis community – people recovering from and living with paralysis need to be ready, stay healthy, and ENJOY THIS LIFE!
The healthcare system must build an infrastructure for a proper continuum of care to improve lives, and provide adequate access to interventions NOW! That is part of the small role we are proud to play at NeuroHope.
When the injured “join” this community, we realize there are passionate voices that will not give up on advocacy for cure, care, and rehabilitative access. Research, healthcare, quality of life, and disability rights are all connected in this world.
Many thanks to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation for being the force that brings these voices together.