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Thread: Canadian Committment to a Cure

  1. #1

    Canadian Committment to a Cure


    Prime Minister Harper celebrates 20th Anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man In Motion World Tour with commitment to SCI Translational Research Network

    February 2, 2007
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Canada’s New Government intends to provide $30 million in funding over five years for the Spinal Cord Injury Translational Research Network (SCI-TRN), established by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

    “Canada’s New Government is proud to support the efforts of Rick Hansen – a true Canadian hero,” said the Prime Minister. “This funding will further aid the Foundation’s efforts to make an immediate, positive difference for Canadians living with spinal cord injuries.”

    Building upon previous federal and provincial investments, the SCI-TRN is working to create a national network to accelerate the translation of innovative research discoveries into practical benefits for Canadians with spinal cord injuries, generate savings in health and social services and accelerate scientific advances towards a cure.

    These practical benefits will be realized by focusing on the following five key priorities: exploring new ways to reduce permanent paralysis; identifying priority areas for quality of life investments; implementing national best practices; completing the roll out of a national registry as a reporting and tracking tool; and building the infrastructure needed to keep Canada on the leading edge of spinal cord research.

    The Prime Minister was joined at today’s event in Ottawa by Rick Hansen, the president of the Rick Hansen Foundation, and by Health Minister Tony Clement, and Stephen Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

    “Thank you Prime Minister Harper for your government’s leadership and support in helping us improve the quality of life of the more than 40,000 Canadians with permanent spinal cord injuries. Through this initiative, we hope to make headway in finding a cure,” said Mr. Hansen. “I am overwhelmed by this support and truly honoured to be here today with many of our partners who collaborated on this big dream, in particular Drs. Michael Fehlings and Armin Kurt whose exceptional leadership is responsible for the network being announced today.”

    The period from April 2006 to May 2007 marks the 20th anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion wheelchair tour, which saw him visit more than 30 countries and raise more than $26 million for spinal cord research.


    The Prime Minister’s Office - Communications
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  2. #2
    Senior Member artsyguy1954's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    British Columbia, Canada
    Way to go, Rick!!
    Step up, stand up for:

    'He not busy being born is busy dying." <Bob Dylan>

  3. #3
    Awesome, congrats to everyone involved. We are finally on the Govt's radar!
    Here's Hoping!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Van Quad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by DougB
    Awesome, congrats to everyone involved. We are finally on the Govt's radar!

    That "Canada's New Government" tagline makes me feel like we've had a coup d'etat.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    Let the letter writing campaign begin!

    Dear Letter to the Editor (Windsor Star, National Post):

    Thank you Prime Minister Harper! Thank you Rick Hansen! Thank you Tony Clement and Steven Fletcher! Thank you, thank you and thank you. Finally someone gets it!

    A wise person once said that to know where you’re going, you have to look at where you’ve been. Spinal cord injuries were only endured during the Second World War when better antibiotics and medical care meant secondary complications of paralysis could become survivable. Since that time, people afflicted with paralysis were in a homeostatic state for more than fifty years. Lumped with all disabled people and considered invalids or shut-ins until the sixties, we have come a long way from institutions, forced sterilization to access to medical care to quality of life issues and to the final holy grail, the cure. You’re right Celine, these are exciting times.

    Myself, I was twelve years old when I became paralyzed from the waist down in the summer of 1985 due to Transverse Myelitis. It had the same affect as if I’d broken my back in an accident leaving behind damaged myelin sheaths that resembled swiss cheese. Damaged myelin meant no signals could pass, sensation and muscle usage lost forever.

    With the advent of the internet and open communication between researchers and the end-user, it has become clear in the twenty-first century that spinal cord injury is reversible by several different possible avenues. In my opinion, the most promising are injury bridges across the spinal cord and growth factors that scientists at this very minute are working on all over the world. Technology may trump medical advances. I watch with anticipation while I continue surviving my life.

    There are secondary complications that threaten those with paralysis. Blood clots are common. Low bone density and fractures occur. The fatigue is undeniable. Muscle atrophy can lead to pressure sores, where bones become close to the skin. Pressure sores threaten to take lives with severe infections. Diabetes and cardiac illness can occur given the very nature of paralysis and the sedentary lifestyle it provides. There is no control over bladder, bowel or sexual function. Not to mention I had to pay $4000 more than every other condo owner in my building so the architect could alter his drawing and I could finally enjoy home ownership. I wasn’t eligible for insurance, whether life or mortgage. I’m only able to buy certain cars that can fit a folded up chair behind the driver’s seat – this left me with the Saturn Ion, reluctantly leaving my beloved Ford behind. Deemed too independent by local home care, I’ve been buying my own medical dressings for pressure sores on/off for several years. There is no financial aid for housing, transportation or medical supplies as I work full time; rotating shift work at that.

    My biggest fear as of late has been dying of severe infection due to non-healing pressure wounds on my feet. I am now thirty-four years of age but they have been there since I was seventeen. I wouldn’t even feel what’s coming and imagine I would have very little warning. Four years ago found me carrying around a portable IV and receiving antibiotics intravenously for most of the year, while I continued to work. All a doctor and I have to go on is how the wound looks and what lab test results show. I cannot tell the physician how it hurts or is feeling. I have sought out at least five doctors who all advised to amputate. Unbelievably, the usual response was, “Well, you’re not using them?” I flat out refuse. It’s an archaic knee-jerk response that I won’t entertain regardless of how many years of medical education are staring me in the face. So now I feel I’m in a race and I hope I’m here long enough to see the outcome. It breaks my heart every time I see a child in a wheelchair who I know is paralyzed.

    It is hopeful for me to see this $30,000,000 that Prime Minister Harper et al recently announced will go to a spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation network to improve the lives of those suffering paralysis; it is long overdue. Last year, the BC Premier gave the Rick Hansen Foundation $15,000,000 and I sent a letter to our Liberal Premier asking why Ontario couldn’t do the same. My reply was one that curtseyed to accessibility and inclusion, oh that old chestnut. The Liberal Premier went on to state in his letter that Ontario was working towards being accessible to all by the year 2029 which doesn’t fair thee well since I’ll be retiring from my full time job (but more than likely dead) by the year 2026.

    Overnight, it has suddenly become very clear who I’ll be voting for, and encouraging family, friends and co-workers to vote for, in the next federal election. Finally – they get it! A great start Prime Minister, you definitely have my support!

    Jennifer Spence
    Windsor ON
    Last edited by lynnifer; 02-03-2007 at 06:27 AM.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  6. #6
    Excellent letter Jennifer,

    You pretty much summed it up perfectly. Good luck to you kid. Yes kid, I'm 42, fourteen years post c5/6 complete. I completely agree with everything you have said. Well done, excellent input.

    "Beloved Ford"...??? lol

    Take Care
    Here's Hoping!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Splendid to put SCI on the agenda by the Canadian PM like this no matter politics, Read this good news yesterday, funding for SCI solely proclamed from this level in politics? Who says governments can’t make specific laws for funding for diseases and injuries? This is HUGE, have not seen this happen anyplace before, and it does not come for free like the articles also says, and what the results will be are given, the more focus on SCI and cures (cures was also an aim) on this level, the faster, this will be used to show other politicians as well I recon, we have some here who will have a hard time :-) that needs a kick in the butt.
    – And, go after them Jennifer.

  8. #8
    Way to go Canada!! Too bad the US won't pull it's head out of it's ass in the same way. Oh ya, Bush won't let it. Anyway, congrats and keep up the great work. Is it me or are things really starting to click our way for once?

  9. #9
    Senior Member artsyguy1954's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    British Columbia, Canada
    Great letter, Jennifer. Hang in there. Keep up the good fight. You strike me as one tough lady. You'll be good for another fifty years.
    Step up, stand up for:

    'He not busy being born is busy dying." <Bob Dylan>

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Vike
    Way to go Canada!! Too bad the US won't pull it's head out of it's ass in the same way. Oh ya, Bush won't let it. Anyway, congrats and keep up the great work. Is it me or are things really starting to click our way for once?
    I think your right VIKE.....we are officially on the radar.
    Here's Hoping!

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