Paralyzed Chinese Gymnast Sang Lan Pays Respects to Her Hero
View photos from her visit.
Sang Lan, a former member of the Chinese national women's gymnastic team who suffered a severe spinal cord injury during competition at the Goodwill Games in New York in 1998, visited the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation on July 15, 2008 to pay her respects to her hero, Christopher Reeve. Peter Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, welcomed her at the Foundation.
Ten years ago on July 21st in New York, 17-year-old Sang Lan was injured while attempting a practice vault. She had a fracture-dislocation of her lower neck. This incident resulted in a paralyzing injury to her spinal cord. At that time, she could not move her legs and had no sensation from mid-chest down. Today she can move her upper body and uses a wheelchair for mobility. While she was undergoing rehabilitation in New York, she received encouragement and support from Christopher Reeve, who had himself been paralyzed by a horse-riding accident and remained so until his death in 2004.
"Christopher Reeve is my hero and he continues to inspire me. His cervical facture brought him total paralysis. He could not even breathe normally, yet he provided me with inspiration and encouragement to go forward. I am grateful for his generosity and largeness of spirit," said Sang Lan.
During her visit to the Foundation, she was delighted to learn that the Foundation has created the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) to promote the health and well being of people living with paralysis and their families. She was also happy to find that the PRC is equipped to address inquires in Chinese in real-time and maintains a self-help Web site in Chinese.
Peter Wilderotter said, "I am pleased to welcome Sang Lan to the Reeve Foundation today. I am amazed by her courage and zest for life. Like Christopher Reeve, she exemplifies living life to its fullest She inspires us all."
Sang Lan graduated from the School of Journalism and Communications of Beijing University and hosts a talk show for sina.com. She also serves as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, vice director at the China Sports Foundation and an ambassador for the Hong Kong University Spinal Cord Injury Fund. She has been active in promoting the upcoming Beijing Olympics and Paralympics among children in China.
The Multicultural Outreach Program is a public awareness initiative of the PRC. Launched in September 2004, this program aims to increase awareness of, and access to, the Paralysis Resource Center and its services among the Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander and Native American communities in the United States, and to promote informed health care decisions and active and independent living among these diverse groups, thus positively impacting their quality of life. For further details about PRC, call its toll-free telephone line at (800) 539-7309 or visit the Paralysis Resource Center.
View photos from her visit.
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