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Famous Volunteers: Christopher Reeve

From Superman to activist and volunteer, Christopher Reeve turned his tragic accident into his biggest cause, enriching the lives of people living with disabilities everywhere.

Tragic accident

In May 1995 Reeve became paralysed from the neck downwards and wheel-chair bound following a horse-riding accident. He also required a respirator to assist his breathing for the rest of his life. After the accident that left him paralyzed, the late actor became an advocate for those suffering from spinal cord injuries and he became very involved in campaigns supporting handicapped children and paraplegics. Reeve also continued to work after ongoing rehabilitation, inspiring disabled individuals with his determination and positive attitude.

Beginning a movement

In 2002, Christopher Reeve said, “Nothing of any consequence happens unless people get behind an idea. It begins with an individual and they share the idea with more individuals…and eventually it becomes a movement.” Reeve not only put a human face on spinal cord injury but he motivated neuroscientists around the world to conquer the most complex diseases of the brain and central nervous system.

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Reeve became the Chairman of the American Paralysis Association and was Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability. He also co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Centre and created the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The Foundation funds research that develops treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and works to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities through grants, advocacy, and a paralysis resource centre.

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