Accessibility, Life Care Plan, Medical Consultation, Technology, Vocational Rehabilitation

Reeve Foundation Finds Friends for People Living with Paralysis

 October 31, 2017

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis. Its Peer & Family Support Program provides such people, as well as those who care for them, with the means to come together for hope, support and a way forward. It allows them to request a peer mentor, someone with shared experience.

Here’s how it works.  At the above link, you can either fill out a simple form or call according to the listed availability. After you apply, they will contact you to make sure they really understand your needs. Then, they will match you with a mentor, someone you can relate to. Once the mentor is found, he or she will reach out and connect with you by whichever means you choose.

A peer mentor is someone just like you. To ensure that is the case, the Reeve program will consider criteria such as age, gender, cause of paralysis, level of injury, ethnicity, veteran status, interests, and where you live.  As for what you’ll talk about, it is up to you. You might want to discuss your goals or explore other possibilities, such as going back to school/work or starting a family. Maybe you are interested in adaptive activities or sports.  There are always developments regarding technology or medical equipment to learn about.

Depending on your age, you may or may not be familiar with Reeve’s own history with paralysis.  All you need is a sense of the man’s spirit to know that you are in the right hands. Even if they are unable to find a peer in your area, they will turn to phone, e-mail or Skype to make a connection for you. You can always ask them a question directly or apply for a grant.

Superman always wanted to be seen as a peer. His otherworldly origins and incredible powers make it seem impossible but his upbringing, by Jonathan and Martha Kent, argues otherwise. As an actor, Christopher Reeve faced the dual challenge of not only making us believe a man could fly, but that he is one of us.  After all these years, Reeve, like Superman, is still…a friend.

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