A word from Congressman Young

Update: On October 18, 2013, Congressman Young passed away at the age of 82. We greatly enjoyed working with Congressman Young during his time in Congress and are honored to continue to host this Congressional Perspective from February 2012.

Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have had the privilege of working with many amazing people on critical issues that affect all Americans. One of my most rewarding relationships I forged during this time was with Christopher and Dana Reeve and their Foundation.

I clearly remember one of my first meetings with Christopher Reeve after his accident. My wife Beverly and I were made aware of a young Navy Ensign named Kristin. She was paralyzed from what we later learned was Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

When I heard that Christopher was going to be in the Washington area shortly after Kristin's diagnosis I reached out and asked if he would be able to visit her at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He generously agreed. It was an extremely moving and inspirational meeting. Kristin was thrilled that "Superman" wanted to visit with her. When Christopher asked Kristin if she needed anything, Kristin replied by saying it would be wonderful if there was a place where people like her facing paralysis could reach out to get a wide range of information.

Following that meeting I began working with the Reeve Foundation to help secure funding for what would later be called the Christopher & Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center (PRC), a national clearinghouse for Americans living with paralysis.

Today, this facility assists more than 200,000 individuals with spinal cord injuries and paralysis each year by providing resources focused on promoting health, fostering involvement in the community and improving overall quality of life. The Center also supports state-of-the-art therapies that improve health and mobility, which are directly improving the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

As we move forward with the fiscal year 2013 budget and appropriations process and continue to be faced with difficult funding choices, I remain committed to ensuring that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receives the funding needed to continue to serve those with spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and the rest of the disability community through initiatives such as the PRC.