Christopher Reeve speaks to Kent State students
POSTED: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 6:49:25 AM
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 6:58:22 AM
Nearly eight years ago, actor and director Christopher Reeve suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

Tuesday night he was at Kent State University with a message and a request.

As he was wheeled out onto the stage Christopher Reeve received wonderful applause.

He went on to spend 45-minutes telling one captivating story after another. He called on students, some who view him as a hero, to leave Kent after graduation and become leaders.

"You are already at an age where you are about to go out into the world, and the question is? What kind of difference are you gonna make? Whose route are you following?" asked Reeve.

Two months ago, Reeve underwent experimental surgery. Under his sweater implanted in his diaphragm are electrodes that give him the ability to breath without a respirator. Kent State grad, Dr. Raymond Onders performed the outpatient surgery.

Presently he is just strengthening the muscle, this is a muscle that hasn't been used in eight years, with time he can go longer and longer off the ventilator.

"As much as I like this neck tie, I can't wait to get ride of it," said Reeve.

Reeve explained that why research is available for procedures like his, funding isn't. The population of people with his kind of injury is small, but they still need help. Barbara Alfredo said tonight, Christopher Reeve performed like superman.

"I got much more out of it than I can in for, any time someone thinks they are having a bad day, all you have to do is think how blessed you are, and he has a wonderful attitude, said Barbara Alfredo, an attendee at the speech.

Christopher is the second person to successful receive the experiential surgery.

As for leadership, Reeve says he has done more in the way of leadership in the last eight years of his life, than he did during his first 42.

© 2003 WKYC-TV. All rights reserved.