A beacon of hope: Dana Reeve

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on March 01, 2017 # Christopher and Dana, Caregiving

When we reflect on the individuals who have made a profound difference on our mission to cure spinal cord injury, Christopher Reeve always comes to mind.

In the face of insurmountable obstacles, Christopher Reeve sparked a movement...a movement of cures and improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, that you help advance every day.

However, the real steel behind Superman was his wife Dana. While Christopher focused on accelerating innovative research, Dana managed to be the light in a world of darkness for many families impacted by paralysis.

Because March is the month of both her birth as well as her passing, we are honoring Dana Reeve, and hope that you will join us in celebrating her many contributions to our cause.

When Christopher was injured in 1995, Dana was faced with the ultimate choice. She could either grieve her former life and everything she had known up until that point, or fight to make their lives and the lives of so many living with paralysis happy and prosperous ones.

In her words, “Some of the choices in life will choose you. How you face those choices, these turns in the road, with what kind of attitude, more than the choices themselves, will define the context of your life.”

Dana Reeve compared the days and weeks following Christopher's injury to landing on another planet without a map. There was no centralized resource to learn about paralysis and she had no one to turn to. Dana knew there had to be a better way, so she poured her heart and soul into creating a solution.

In 2002, Dana opened the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) to provide support and, most importantly, hope for families impacted by paralysis.

Thanks to Dana’s vision and your unwavering dedication, thousands of individuals have accessed free services from the PRC and received life-changing information through our programs including:

  • Over 85,000 families have received assistance from Information Specialists who provide individualized support to those in need or to families in crisis. With the ability to respond in 170 languages, Information Specialists are a lifeline for individuals living with paralysis around the world.
  • Through our Quality of Life Grants Program, we have awarded 2,837 grants that have amounted to over $20 million in funding for various projects and programs like adaptive playgrounds and sports, accessible transportation, assistive technology and many other initiatives. Recently, we funded the creation of an adaptive beach in Miami through the Sabrina Cohen Foundation and had people getting back into the water who were unable to do so since their injury or diagnosis.
  • To help people navigate the short-term and long-term challenges of paralysis, we created the Peer & Family Support Program. Currently, there are 220 certified Reeve Foundation peer mentors who have helped over 5,800 people by providing guidance and resources based on their personal experiences.

Beyond the PRC, Dana was a powerful voice for caregivers and a fierce advocate for equality. She worked tirelessly to shatter any barriers that restricted the rights of our community.

Every time you share our content on social media, advocate for the rights of caregivers and those living with a disability, or make a donation , you are helping us carry on the work and vision of a woman who was a beacon of hope to all.

Thank you for helping us celebrate Dana Reeve and all the caregivers out there carrying on her legacy.