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Marc Mukasey

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Alan Brown is my best friend - he has been forever. We grew up together, lived a block away from each other, and spent every minute possible laughing, competing, taunting, and helping each other. We played on the same teams, dated the same girls, wore the same clothes and laughed at the same jokes. We dreamed the same dreams. And we were the second generation of our families to bond with each other. Our fathers were lifelong friends before we.

Even as we reached twenty years old, we remained as close as brothers. We had the world at our fingertips. Endless possibility awaited us.

And then, on January 2, 1988, Alan’s life changed forever. He was doing something all of us have done and will do again. He was on a winter vacation, lying in the surf that he loved, when a fierce undertow ripped his legs out from underneath him and flipped him over. The violent wave crushed his neck and damaged his spinal cord. Weeks away from his twenty-first birthday, Alan Brown the athlete, Alan Brown the troublemaker, Alan Brown the ladies' man, Alan Brown, the life of the party, was now Alan Brown, quadriplegic. Alan Brown, paralyzed, unable to move from the chest down. And in that same instant, life stopped moving for all of us who loved him.

The weeks and months that followed Alan's accident were among the most difficult of my life. And then, something happened that I never saw coming: those most painful of times became the most inspiring of times. Because the wave that broke Alan's body was no match for his spirit. Alan battled. He battled hard. All day, every day. He wouldn't sit still and he wouldnt let me, or anyone around him, sit still, or feel sorry or get angry. Instead he told us this was a new beginning, a call to duty, to a new way of doing things. He built up his body. He learned new skills. He studied new disciplines. He re-dedicated his life.

A slew of accomplshments followed. Two beautiful boys, successful businesses, marathons, triathalons, even a World Series ring. Along the way, Alan has given his time, his money and his energy to help hundreds of injury-stricken people around the world.

As we approach the 25th anniversary of his injury, Alan takes on his biggest challenge. Alan is now the Director of Public Impact for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to developing cures for spinal cord injury and providing care for community members living with paralysis. The Reeve Foundation’s research programs have been a driving force behind every breakthrough in spinal cord research of the past generation, investing in collaboration and innovation by the world’s top scientists. The Foundation’s Quality of Life programs offer an array of vital information, resources and support services to individuals, families and caregivers, as well as grants to organizations that serve community members living with disabilities. Alan spearheads awareness and outreach initiatives to raise visibility and funds to further the Reeve Foundation's work. As part of the Reeve foundation, he will reach nearly 6 million Americans living with paralysis and 1.275 million Americans living with spinal cord injury.

So now its time for us to rally, Al Brown-style. Those of us who know Alan best—whether friends he has had since childhood or new ones he has made in recent years—are supporting The Alan T. Brown Reeve Foundation Power of We Campaign, an initiative to expand the reach and impact of the Reeve Foundation. For each of the 25 years that Alan has been living with paralysis, an individual or group from a special time in his life is committing to raise at least $10,000 in honor of that year to support the Reeve Foundation's Research and Quality of Life programs.

I have made a personal donation of $10,000 to the Reeve Foundation to commemorate 1988, the first year, when everything changed just two days into a new year. Moments like those you remember. Moments like those teach you what—and who—is most important.

This is why, in addition to my own commitment, I’d also like to raise ten times more. As I said to Alan, let’s raise enough money to mark the next 25 years too. Please join me in supporting The Alan T. Brown Reeve Foundation Power of We Campaign with as generous a gift as possible. Like Alan, it will inspire you. Thank you.


The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

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