Program will assist individuals living with paralysis across Minnesota

Short Hills, NJ (October 2, 2012) The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation today announced it has partnered with Courage Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota to help launch the Reeve Foundation's Peer & Family Support Program (PFSP) in the state. By teaming with Courage Center, which has been providing rehabilitation, community support services, and advocacy for people with barriers to independence since 1928, both organizations will work toward establishing mentoring across the state of Minnesota. The PFSP is a national peer-to-peer mentoring program that utilizes the real life experiences of those who are thriving while living with paralysis.

The mission of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's PFSP is to provide critical emotional encouragement, as well as local and national information and resources, to people living with paralysis, and their families and caregivers. Mentors empower people living with paralysis, including our service men and women, to achieve a healthy and full life.

This program matches people seeking assistance with a Reeve Foundation Certified Mentor who will be of similar age, gender, level of injury, ethnicity and location when possible. A Reeve Foundation Peer Mentor will go through a specialized certification process that will include on-line work in advance of an on-site training. Throughout the process both the client and the Reeve Mentor will have access to all of the resources the Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center has to offer.

"We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Courage Center and confident that together, this program will help to reach the broader paralysis community," said Joseph Canose, Senior Vice President, Quality of Life for the Reeve Foundation. "Courage Center is already a part of our NeuroRecovery Network as a Community Fitness and Wellness Facility. By expanding our relationship with them, we are able to work collaboratively to continuously provide valuable physical and emotional resources to those in need."

Sue Fink, living with a C3 level spinal cord injury, is a peer mentor for the Courage Center and PFSP. A current client, Elizabeth Sach, who lives with quadriplegia, strongly advocates for the help she has received from Sue. "Sue is a life line for me while I adjust to life in a wheelchair," Elizabeth stated. "We have never met in person, but that hasn't stopped us from sharing our lives. She is playing a huge role in my ability to establish a satisfying life."

"Courage Center has been the site of many informal peer mentor relationships over the years. This new partnership with the Reeve Foundation will enhance the quality and effectiveness of the mentor relationship," said Jeanne Olson, Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation with Courage Center. "We know firsthand the importance of this type of support; this is a wonderful opportunity for our clients."

The Reeve Foundation and Courage Center are actively recruiting new clients: people living with paralysis, family members and caregivers who are in need of guidance by a Certified Mentor. The benefits of talking to a Certified Mentor include a clear understanding of the realities of paralysis, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, confidence building and motivation, understanding of the science and progress in research of paralysis, how to avoid secondary conditions, and more.

About Courage Center
Courage Center is a Minnesota-based, nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that serves children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. Courage Center specializes in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experienced since birth. Founded in 1928, Courage Center offers advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. For more information, please visit

About the Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau's standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB's Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Award No. 1U59DD000838. For more information, please visit our website at or call 800-539-7309.