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On April 12th, Cure Paralysis Now held it’s first rally in Washington, which of course could not have been named anything else but the “Spring Into Action” Rally! What originally started as an idea on the CareCure forums galvanized into a historic “coming together” of the grassroots associated with many organizations including the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, the Miami Project, the TM Myelitis Association, Next Steps, the Cody Unser First Step Foundation, and various other paralysis/rehab organizations.
It proved to be a wonderful way for the grassroots to transform the pain we were feeling of losing our most vocal advocate Christopher Reeve (whom we all relied so much on), into a celebration of his accomplishments as he fought to Cure Paralysis. And the time had now come for the grassroots to carry on where he left off. What we lack in celebrity we hope to continue making up for in numbers!! According to the CRPF more than 2 million people live with some form of paralysis from Neuronal Injury.
The Kick-off event took place on April 11th in a conference room at the Washington Plaza Hotel where we heard the most moving and inspiring speeches from several of our grassroots advocates including Kris Gulden, a police officer who suffered a spinal cord injury when she was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle. You can find a copy of her beautiful speech here.
The next day we were honored by the most incredible slate of speakers imaginable…. right in front of the US Capitol building!! There were two huge vertical banners with Christopher Reeve’s picture on them and the words MOVE FOREWARD, on each side of the stage. All along the front of the stage there was a banner saying Cure Paralysis Now!! Dana Reeve ( CRPF), Marc Buoniconti( Miami Project to Cure Paralysis), Rep. Jim Langevin ( RI) who is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, and Dr. Wise Young ( Keck Foundation neuroscientist ) gave us many words of encouragement. But that wasn’t all….we were also quite fortunate to have some prominent legislators drop in, supporting the CRPA which was being reintroduced that very day of the rally: Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tom Harkin, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jerrod Brown.
After our group lunch we split up for visits to over 60 legislators where we made our case for:
* Spinal Cord Injury Medicine according to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation includes traumatic spinal cord injury, non-traumatic spinal cord injury (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, tumor-related injury, transverse myelitis etc.)