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Thread: A eulogy for Christopher Reeve

  1. #1

    A eulogy for Christopher Reeve

    I am heartbroken and felt the need to write something to express my sorrow. I hope that others would contribute as well.

    A Eulogy for Christopher Reeve

    Christopher taught me to use the two four-lettered words: hope and cure. Regarding hope, he said that without hope we have nothing. Regarding cure, he said that we must go all the way. These are hard words for a scientist to use. We don't want to give false hope and we must have confidence that a cure is possible. It was probably 6 weeks after his injury when I received a call from him asking if I would see him at Kessler Rehabilitation Center where he was undergoing rehabilitation. He was in his wheelchair, still a little hesitant with the timing of his respirator that was providing the breath for his voice, but very pointed with his questions. He asked me whether there would ever be therapies that could restore function to people with spinal cord injury. I told him yes and explained why. He then asked how long. I said to him that if we had sufficient resources, worked hard, and were a little lucky, we may have the first therapies within 7 years. Of course, this was in 1995 and seven years have come and gone.

    It is now the tenth year after Christopher Reeve's injury in May of 1995. During these years, we have seen the reversal of the dogma that the spinal cord cannot regenerate and the first application of therapies that are beginning to restore function in people. Throughout all this time, Christopher was a shining beacon of hope for cure around the world. He has raised more money for spinal cord injury research than anybody in history, establishing the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. More important, he gave unstintingly of himself day and night to the cause. He testified to Congress numerous times, spoke up for stem cell research, visited spinal cord injury laboratories and centers all over the world, and gave innumerable heartfelt speeches to millions. I remember the first time that he appeared on television on Barbara Walter's 20/20 and said that God had dealt him a set of cards and he was determined to play them to the best of his ability. He did not ask for pity, just hope and cure. He challenged scientists to work harder, people to care, and the government to help.

    I know that Christopher would be sad to be missing the events of the coming weeks. So much is happening. I was supposed to see him this weekend to update him on the status of research but postponed it, sending a message to him to say that I will be attending the Neurotrauma and Neuroscience meetings in 2 weeks and could report back to him about the progress. His bill, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act of 2004, is being considered in Congress and requesting $300 million for research to reverse paralysis. He was anxious to hear about the progress in clinical trials around the world and I was supposed to update him about the progress in establishing the China SCI Network to test therapies in people. He has been an untiring advocate for stem cell research and we had worked together to get the New Jersey Stem Cell Research bill passed last year. I know that he would not want to have missed the announcement of the establishment of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey. He would have been very interested to see the outcome of Proposition 71 in California, requesting a $3 billion bond to support stem cell research in that state.

    Most of all, I miss Christopher. I only heard several hours ago that he died. There is an ache in my heart that won't go away, a feeling in my eyes that causes me to blink, and the silent regret that comes from the loss of a dear friend. Millions have felt the magnetism of his blue eyes, the quick smile, the inciseful insight, and the strength and optimism that poured out from his paralyzed body. He not only worked incessantly to keep his body in good shape for the cure but convinced many people with spinal cord injury to take care of themselves as well. He truly touched everybody that saw him and worked with him. He was a great man, a wonderful friend, and will be sorely missed. My hope is that we will realize his dreams of a cure for spinal cord injury in the very near future. I know that this would make him happy.

  2. #2
    Dear Wise,

    Beautiful thoughts for a beautiful person.

    You knew him as a friend, most of us only knew him in spirit; I hope that spirit stays alive, and gives the world the impetus to put a halt to this nightmare for all of us.

    Jackie

    _____________
    If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. - Mother Teresa

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    "The King is dead
    Long live The King"
    We have lost our best soldier.

  4. #4
    My heart also goes to his family, to Dana, to his mother, to his son Will, to his grown children, to his brothers. And to his incredible nurses and staff, I can only say that I share their grief. This must have been such a shock. Wise.

  5. #5
    Thank you Chistopher for everything you have done for us. Instead of merging into the background after your injury, you fought back and raised more attention for SCI than anyone or any group ever could have.
    I hope that scientists from all over the world will not forget your quest and understand the urgency of finding a cure for SCI so they will work harder than ever.
    I'm truly sorry you didn't reach your goal, but still you will never be forgotten, and when the goal is finally reached we will not forget that it was your hand that helped us get up. Once again, Thank You!

    Sergio

  6. #6
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    I woke up this morning rolled over and the first words I heard were "Christopher Reeeve" has died. I was in total shock. He was just in my home town to attend a 50th anniversary party for Rehabilitation Institute located in Chicago IL. It's where I attended therapy. I wanted to attend but I too am suffering from a pressure sore. We have lost a legend in the cure to find a cure. May God bless the Reeve family and all close friends.
    Ed
    T-10 Complete 1/11/03

  7. #7
    Like most people, I never met Christopher Reeve, but, nevertheless, I was touched and uplifted by his tenacity of spirit, optimism and determination. Whenever my strength faltered or my endurance waned, I thought of Christopher and, somehow, found in myself the ability to move on-to bear the burden of this injury a little longer. He was a beacon of hope where none other remained. And with his passing I feel a shroud of uncertainty, a gathering darkness, around my soul, and I pray we can weather the storm, the loss of our noble guide, and continue his legacy in the quest for a cure.

    Christopher Reeve, you are dearly missed. My prayers are with you and all your family. Peace be on you and the mercy of God and all His blessings.

  8. #8
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    ...i can say only thanks to C.Reeve...since 1998 when i was injuried Christopher was an icon of hope for me and my family...his energy
    helped me go on...

    i feel lost...without THE simbol of my hope

    glm79

  9. #9
    I believe that Christopher would want us to continue to allow him to be our 'symbol of hope', and to unite together in furthering his message of a cure.

    _____________
    If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. - Mother Teresa

  10. #10
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    We've lost our most visible worldwide advocate. The world wanted to see him succeed. I guess in his own way, he's done just that.

    We must persevere in his honor.

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