One Degree of Separation:
The prevalence and demographics of paralysis and spinal cord injury:
It means that we all know someone -- a brother, sister, friend, neighbor, or colleague -- living with paralysis. These aren't strangers. They are only one degree of separation from all of us. But their lives are different. They live with a condition that affects their family life, their ability to work, and their capacity to enjoy even the most routine everyday activities that others take for granted. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation wants to change that.
Identifing the need
This Paralysis Task Force quickly discovered that there was insufficient reliable information about the prevalence of paralysis. Without that information, it would be impossible to devise new or evaluate existing policies, programs, and services for people living with paralysis. As a result, the Task Force's first recommendation for advancing paralysis as a public issue was to build a more robust and comprehensive national knowledge base about it.
Gathering the data
Researchers designed and conducted an exhaustive survey of more than 33,000 households across the country. More than 30 experts in paralysis and statistics, including those from the CDC and 14 leading universities and medical centers helped to develop and set the parameters for the study. Today, this study represents one of the largest population based samples of any disability ever conducted.