Honoring John McConnell

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 11, 2019 # News, Events

I feel that we have a responsibility when we are able to take care of ourselves, which most of us are, to give back and pay forward. I hope the world is better off because of my contribution.” --John McConnell, Vice Chair of the Reeve Foundation Board of Directors

When reflecting on the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s most profound accomplishments, the major milestones realized over the last few years were as a result of a band of visionaries who refused to believe treatments and therapies for spinal cord injury were decades away. Thanks to the unwavering dedication and investment of these leaders, individuals who were paralyzed for years are now taking steps and recovering functions once thought to be lost forever. At the heart of these triumphs is John McConnell, one of the Reeve Foundation’s most ardent supporters and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.

On November 14, John will receive the Arnold H. Snider Visionary Leadership Award at the Reeve Foundation’s signature gala, A Magical Evening . The award is named after the late, great Arnie Snider who embodied the very fabric of the Reeve Foundation mission. A promise was made with the Snider family to only bestow this honor on leaders worthy of the recognition; there is truly no one more worthy than John McConnell.

For over 14-years, John has served as a North Star guiding the Reeve Foundation forward and helping to deliver on its mission. Since the moment he joined ranks with Reeve, John has provided expert guidance to shape the Foundation’s future and reinforce its promise to the 5.4 million Americans living with paralysis.

From an accident came a calling

John sustained a spinal cord injury in 2005 after flipping over his bike. While the initial prognosis was grim, John recovered and became the exception to an unfortunate rule. Most people who sustain a similar injury have not walked away and live with a host of serious health complications. The close call ignited a passion and purpose to help the Reeve Foundation accelerate its mission.

As John said, “hope literally came running.” Just one year after his injury, John crossed the finish line at the New York City Marathon and has since completed multiple marathons and endurance events raising close to $1 million under the Team Reeve banner. He has also served as a coach and motivator for countless Team Reeve members and travels across the nation to show his support at nearly every event.

Over the years, John has been instrumental in leveraging his position as the founder of McConnell Media LLC to elevate the Reeve Foundation’s profile and establish relationships with key media networks and talent. In 2010, John was appointed as the Vice Chair of the Reeve Foundation Board of Directors and has served in a leadership capacity across the entire organization from development to brand strategy and governance.

John D. Rockefeller once said, "Think of giving not only as a duty, but as a privilege." Like Rockefeller, John approaches his work with the Reeve Foundation with conviction, generosity, and tremendous compassion for the 5.4 million Americans living with paralysis. To John, giving back is not only a privilege but a part of his legacy.

A Magical Evening will be held on November 14 at Cipriani South Street. If you are interested in attending or want to learn more about the event, please visit our events page.

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.