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Exciting Research Breakthrough in SCI Research

Support research to find cures
Paraplegic man stands and steps with assistance

Dear Anthony,

I am still buzzing about the exciting research breakthrough that a paraplegic man, Rob Summers (pictured here), is standing and taking steps. This is truly unprecedented and hopeful news for everyone living with spinal cord injuries and their families.

But this breakthrough didn't happen overnight. This is the result of 30 years of focused scientific research funded, in part, by your contributions to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and driven by so many of our supporters' unshakable belief that we can find treatments and cures for paralysis.

Rob's extraordinary functional recovery clearly demonstrates that we are on the right track -- what scientists call "proof of concept." It is no longer a question of if we will be able to significantly improve the function and mobility of some people with spinal cord injuries, but how soon. And that ultimately comes down to the continued availability of research funding.

The donations to the Reeve Foundation from caring people like you made possible this historic scientific breakthrough. But today I am asking you, Anthony, to make a gift online of $50, $75 or whatever you can afford to help us to keep this vital research moving forward.

Rob, who's 25-years-old, was paralyzed below his chest as a result of a hit-and-run car accident in 2006. Two years ago he volunteered for a cutting-edge research project funded by the Reeve Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Among the 11 members of the research team are Dr. Susan Harkema, Director of our NeuroRecovery Network, and Dr. Reggie Edgerton, a member of our Science Advisory Council and International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury.

This stunning breakthrough is the result of a combination of intense locomotor training and epidural stimulation of Rob's lower spinal cord, which mimics the signals his brain would normally send to initiate movement. Rob is now able to stand under his own power and bear his full weight for several minutes at a time while his spinal cord is being stimmed. With the aid of a harness, he can make repeated stepping motions on a treadmill. He can also voluntarily move his toes, ankles, knees and hips.

This is an exciting moment for everyone in our community, but it is only the beginning.

Dr. Harkema cautions that "...we have a long road ahead" before the full potential of this research can be realized in others who are living with spinal cord injury.

But this is a critical moment, and so much depends on your willingness to invest in this research and the work of the other leading scientists funded by the Reeve Foundation. The greater the resources you and I can deliver to these brilliant researchers right now, the faster they can deliver the treatments and cures that people living with paralysis urgently need.

That's why I hope you will show your support by donating online today.

Your generous tax-deductible gift will mean so much to the more than five million Americans living with paralysis who today have real hope for fuller, longer, more independent lives thanks to the Reeve Foundation and caring partners like you.

We simply would not be here today without the support of individuals like you. I hope you will help in any way you can today.


Peter T. Wilderotter, President and CEO

With gratitude,

Peter T. Wilderotter, President and CEO

Peter T. Wilderotter
President and CEO
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation


PS: This breakthrough proves what Christopher Reeve proclaimed more than a decade ago: nothing is impossible. Life-changing treatments are within our sights. Please help us bring them to the people who need then so much. Make your special gift online right now.



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Last modified: 03/08/18.