As a founding board member of the Christopher Reeve Foundation, Dana Reeve succeeded her late husband, Christopher Reeve, as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2004.
Dana established the Reeve Foundation’s quality of life initiatives: the Paralysis Resource Center and the Quality of Life Grants program.
When Christopher was injured, Dana felt lost in a sea of information as she started to navigate their changing life. While her husband fought for a cure, Dana wanted to build a framework of support for individuals, families, and caregivers impacted by paralysis.
The Paralysis Resource Center is a free, comprehensive, national source of informational support for people living with paralysis and their caregivers. Since its inception, the PRC has helped tens of thousands of people living with paralysis access critical resources and information to elevate their quality of life. It is Dana’s legacy, a place to reach out for help, guidance, and support.
As a pillar of the PRC, the Quality of Life Grants program awards financial support to nonprofit organizations that mirror the Reeve Foundation’s mission. The grants focus on programs or projects that foster community engagement and involvement, while promoting health and wellness for individuals living with paralysis. Over 3,100 grants have been awarded to date, totaling more than $26 million to support the disability community.
In addition to her work with the Reeve Foundation, Dana also served on the boards of The Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, TechHealth, and The Reeve-Irvine Center for Spinal Cord Research and as an advisory board member to the National Family Caregivers Association.
She received numerous awards for her work, most notably the Shining Example Award from Proctor & Gamble in 1998 and an American Image Award from the AAFA in 2003. In addition, the American Cancer Society named her “Mother of the Year” in 2005. Dana authored the book Care Packages, which was a collection of letters and notes from friends, fellow community members and admirers to the Reeve family following Christopher’s injury. It was published by Random House in 1999.
First and foremost an actress, Dana’s many singing and acting credits included appearances on television, where she had starring roles on Law & Order, Oz, and All My Children, among others.
She performed in plays on Broadway, off-Broadway, and at numerous regional theatres, and performed as a singer on national television and at various New York venues. In 2000 she co-hosted a live daily talk show for women on the Lifetime Network.
Dana graduated cum laude from Middlebury College where she also later received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and she pursued graduate studies in Acting at the California Institute of the Arts.
Dana Reeve passed away of lung cancer at the age of 44 on March 6, 2006. Following her passing, the Reeve Foundation was renamed the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to reflect Dana’s vision and efforts around quality of life.
Dana is survived by her father, Dr. Charles Morosini, sisters Deborah Morosini and Adrienne Morosini Heilman, her son Will and two stepchildren, Matthew and Alexandra.
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders