It was a magical day

Posted by Elizabeth Forst in Life After Paralysis on December 13, 2017 # Christopher and Dana

My father used to say, "life is funny sometimes, and you never know where it may lead you…” I was hearing his resounding voice in my head a few weeks ago while I sat in my wheelchair in a news studio in Times Square, New York City, preparing to help Will Reeve and company be part of the live final closing bell ceremony for NASDAQ's stock exchange while I was visiting the city to attend the annual Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF) gala A Magical Evening. Receiving an invitation to join the crew in Times Square the day prior, it was a no-brainer for my brother Tracy – a member on the board of directors at CDRF – and I plus a few family and friends to stand by Will and company to hoot and holler while closing the markets for the day.

The lights were hot, the cameras were in abundance, the energy was high and it was a signature moment none of us will ever forget. For just one moment, we felt what it was like to be a star. I'm fairly certain each of us had a moment within ourselves as we sat and stood in the middle of Times Square gazing upon our streaming photographs across the ever famous, huge signature flat screens. It was quite a magical moment and the start to one magical day in New York City.

As our now famous band of characters disseminated Times Square, we all raced across Midtown in yellow taxicabs navigating Grand Canyon style potholes, inquisitive tourists and construction filled side streets to reconnoiter at the Hotel Conrad in downtown Battery Park to attend the gala. Continuing with our day full of stardom, I was able to crack some jokes and grab a quick hug from EMCEE Jerry O'Connell, listened to a tearful and incredibly inspiring speech by A-list actress Glenn Close and hum along to singer Joan Osborne's live acoustic music including a cover of a Grateful Dead ditty. I hobnobbed with other wheelchair users including Rob Summers, Eric Legrand, Henry Stifel, and Justin Pines and reconnected with all of my new friends met at the previous year's gala. My Craig family was in attendance and I was introduced to so many new wonderful faces that I look forward to seeing in the coming months and next year in New York. It was quite the reunion to say the least, magic in the making.

As I have now returned to my home in Denver, Colorado, the words of Glenn Close continue to echo in my ear about her perception of her dear friend, Chris Reeve. She told us "he had more moral and mental fortitude than anyone I will ever know…" These words, this sentiment has left a deep imprint on my heart. I guess up until now, Christopher Reeve has always been a famous name, almost like a brand that us paralyzed folks have gotten behind in order to improve science, our quality of life and/or just give us hope in the direction that we choose to follow. But it was with Glenn Close's words that I resonated that he, just like all of us in wheelchairs, was a gentle and brilliant soul randomly injured in a tragic accident, merely trying to survive and find the zest for life again. And so it is with this realization that I know his life, my life and all of our lives interweave as we find each other on the same winding path. And it is on this path we continue to look for a glimpse of Chris as we find the magic in our own lives.