Gearing Up for the Reeve Summit 2020

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on February 03, 2020 # Events, Military / Veterans, Reeve Summit

A word from one of our Reeve Summit 2020 presenters:

My name is Sherman Gillums and I live with a spinal cord injury. There was a time in my life when I never thought I could describe myself that way. After all, “living” and “spinal cord injury” existed at opposite ends of the spectrum of life — at least that’s what I thought in the beginning.

But it wasn’t until I started spending more time living than trying not to die when I would understand why it all happened to me. In other words, my purpose. Specifically, I stopped looking at myself as a broken individual and started embracing how I’d been uniquely positioned to help others endure and overcome physical, mental, and spiritual adversity. This in itself, had provided the healing that I needed as a U.S. Marine — a protector, servant, and problem solver — who no longer wore those Dress Blues that had meat so much to me for so long.

It was through that transition, and ultimately growth, that I’d discover it was never about the uniform or the title though. What gave me my value to my family and society was the difference I could make, regardless of the outer wrapping in which people saw me, or as I’d previously feared, judged me. The wheelchair and changes to my body as a result of the injury became my strength. Evidence that even though life had physically broken me, I’d become stronger in those broken places. Maybe not as physically as I’d like but certainly mentally and spiritually where it most counted.

That’s the message I’d hoped to convey when I allowed Sesame Street to come into my home and film how my family and I had adapted to and overcame any and every problem we’d faced as one unit. Hopefully, when those who might be similarly situated see that, and only need that glimmer of hope in the face of despair, it will give those families the fortitude to say “If they did it, we can do it too.”

Most importantly, they’ll know they’re not alone. If whomever hears me during Reeve Summit 2020 takes away nothing else, I want that to be what resonates above all else. This is what Christopher and Dana Reeve embodied through their work, and their legacy lives on.


Sherman Gillums Jr. embodies the spirit of the Reeve Summit 2020 to be held in Washington DC on Feb. 26-28, 2020. Click here to register for the conference, see the link above. Any questions about the conference should be addressed to [email protected]. We hope to see you there.

Sherman Gillums Jr.

Chief Advocacy Officer

AMVETS National

Email: [email protected]

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.