A new era for spinal cord research

October 09, 2014

Today marks a historic moment for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Recently, the Reeve Foundation reported that four young men with chronic, motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI) were able to move their legs and stand as a result of epidural stimulation of the spinal cord.

Even more surprisingly, all four participants experienced significant improvements in autonomic functions, including bladder, bowel and sexual function, as well as temperature regulation.

Seeing is believing: Take a look at a video produced by Matthew Reeve, Christopher’s eldest son.

This signals a breakthrough for the millions living with paralysis who combat a host of daily complications due to the inability to control autonomic functions.Which is why I am excited to share the following breaking news.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is proud to announce the launch of a campaign that will redefine what it means to live with SCI. This campaign, called The Big Idea, will support the next phase of research and include 36 new candidates to evaluate the efficacy of epidural stimulation in restoring autonomic functions, movement below the injury level, as well as the ability to stand.

The goal of this initiative – one of the most ambitious efforts in Reeve Foundation history –is to raise $15 million. To reach this target, we need our community, friends and partners to rally like never before.

Here are three ways to show your support for The Big Idea:

  1. Visit ReeveBigIdea.org and make a financial contribution. Just $36 to change 36 lives will make all the difference but any amount can go a long way.
  2. Email your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and anyone you can to encourage them to show their support as well.
  3. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, please get the word out and let your network know that you are investing in the future of spinal cord research by linking to The Big Idea site www.ReeveBigIdea.org and using #JoinReeve.

On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of Christopher Reeve’s passing, we have the ability to change the future of what it means to live with paralysis. The Big Idea is more than a chance to support critical research – it's an opportunity to mobilize and transform lives.

Our mission is simple: to prove the effectiveness of epidural stimulation and challenge the notion that the spinal cord, once damaged, cannot be repaired. From there, we will expand the program to hundreds, then thousands of people... but it all starts with the first 36.

Every great idea is built on a dream. Christopher Reeve dreamed of a world of empty wheelchairs, and I am confident this breakthrough will move us closer to that dream. It is rare in any philanthropic endeavor to be offered a chance to truly change the world. Every movement has its moment. This is ours.

Join me and join Reeve.

Peter T. Wilderotter
President and CEO
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Note: There are companies and clinics in other parts of the world that are falsely advertising epidural stimulation treatments and may pose a danger to the paralysis community. Please read the Reeve Foundation's statement on off-shore stimulation treatments.