Past News Reports - 2001
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- January 10, 2001: At the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC a new statue of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a wheelchair was dedicated, with Christopher Reeve in attendance. This dedication came three and a half years after the Senate and House of Represenatives passed Resolutions in 1997 authorizing the statue to be made for the memorial. Reeve attended as Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.), the organization that spearheaded the campaign for the statue. Reeve said at the dedication, "This statue sends a message to all Americans that having a disability need not limit our hopes or our chance to contribute to society." Reeve added, "It is a wonderful tribute to a great leader who proved for all time that it is one's ability, not one's disability, that counts." The initial funding for the campaign came from a grant by the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Reeve also reportedly personally lobbied for this statue, along with other things, when he met with Clinton in his closed-door 30 minute meeting with him in May 1996, before making that memorable speech at the Democratic National Convention that August.
- February 7, 2001: Los Angeles Times published a syndicated feature story about Margot Kidder and her mental illness and includes an interview with Christopher Reeve. In the article Reeve said that he sensed from the start that she was "disorganized" and "lacked discipline," but never thought of her as ill. Reeve talked in past tense as if he was prematurely eulogizing Kidder: "Once, on a Thursday, she was scrambling to make plans to go to the Azores or Bermuda for the weekend. I said, 'Why fly so far on Saturday when you have to be back here Sunday night and fresh for Monday?' I remember she didn't seem to appreciate the impracticality of that." But Reeve says he could never stay mad at her "because she had real charm, warmth and a sense of humor. She was like a sister to me." Reeve also says that Kidder went out of her way to visit him after his accident that made him spinal cord injured and that she was always generous with friends in need. Reeve says that news of her breakdown and lifelong struggle was "a complete shock to me."
- March 17, 2001: In a radio interview Christopher Reeve did with Bob Garfield, that aired on WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820, for the National Public Radio show On The Media, Reeve told Garfield that in the 1970s and 1980s he did commercials for the money. Reeve explained, "I did mostly foreign commercials. I've tried not to do too many, but you know commercials do come in very handy and-- the money is really incredible." When Garfield asked Reeve if he is feeling exploited by advertisers for viewers' sympathy and attention, Reeve answered, "Being over-exposed or-- exploited is certainly something that-- I'm on guard against at all times. You have to strike that delicate balance. There are many things that are very irrelevant. How I spend my time and values and what I take on-- these are things that I, I approach with more consideration." Garfield said in his voice-over that Reeve lobbies "out of this sort of noblesse oblige and partly out of a deeply-held belief in the hope held out by medical technology." Garfield also asked Reeve about the public having a proprietary stake in his image beyond what he ever experienced as an actor to which Reeve responded, "Well, I think it would be the same-- if you were to run for office - that-- that whole context of your life changes to what you're allowed to do-- publically and privately. You've got to think carefully every move you make."
- March 17, 2001: Christopher Reeve was one of 50 members of the entertainment community to sign an appeal to Congress released by The Creative Coalition in support of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act" (S.27), otherwise known as the McCain-Feingold bill. Signatories declare that "if the campaigns of any candidates for federal office do not embrace the McCain-Feingold principles, we will consider that sufficient reason to no longer contribute to, nor raise money for, nor have our names used in connection with the raising of money for, any such candidate. Others joining Reeve in the appeal include William Baldwin; Susan Sarandon; Ben Stiller; Rick Schroder; Milos Forman; Jane Alexander; Stephen Sondheim; Blair Brown; Phil Donahue; Marlo Thomas; Peter Bogdanovich; and Ron Reagan.
- March 19, 2001: Announced today in a press release was the formation of a special interest group called Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) to lobby for federal funding for the controversial embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Christopher Reeve is one of the members along with universities, scientific societies, and voluntary health organizations. Among the founding members of the coalition are American Society for Cell Biology, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Parkinson's Action Network, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin, Washington University in St. Louis, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Equally impressive, but countering is Do No Harm, a national coalition of researchers, health care professionals, bioethicists, legal professionals, and others dedicated to the promotion of scientific research and health care which does no harm to human life that is against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Do No Harm announced in their March 8th press release their position, "Such research is unethical, illegal and unnecessary." Also mentioned in the press release was a lawsuit filed that day by Nightlight Christian Adoptions, Christian Medical Association, and seven other individuals against Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson and also Dr. Ruth Kirschstein of the National Institutes of Health to stop the illegal, immoral and unnecessary destructive human embryonic stem cell research that the National Institutes of Health was planning to fund.
- March 20, 2001: The television show Extra interviewed Christopher Reeve and others attending the 3rd Annual Christopher Reeve "Hope In Motion" benefit sponsored by the Vail Valley Foundation in Colorado. Reeve told Extra about the irony of the situation. "The odd thing is I used to ski here as a celebrity. A little strange for me to be on the other side." Hosted every year by former President Gerald Ford, the ski classic has raised a million dollars for the Reeve's paralysis foundation during the past two years. "I'm glad they keep asking us to come back. It's the highlight of our year," Reeve said. Dana Reeve lost all four of the races she participated in but son Will redeemed the family's reputation by winning his race Saturday afternoon in the Future Legends competition. Others attending the celebrity ski races and benefit were actor Cliff Robertson, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, and supermodel Kim Alexis. Gloria Estefan summed it up saying "To be a part and support Christopher and his endeavors is definitely important to me. It's great to see that so many good friends have showed up."
- March 21, 2001: According to IGN FilmForce, Warner Brothers has given them first look at the new Superman trailer for the "Special Edition" screening. Approximately 1 minute 25 seconds long, the trailer is a great advertisement for the Re-Mastered and Restored version of "Superman: The Movie", highlighting some of the footage never before seen on the big screen. Watching the trailer is like seeing an advertisement for a movie you've never seen before. It really gets the heart pumping!
The "Special Edition" Superman trailer is available to downloade in three different sizes from IGN's website:
- SMALL (MPEG format, 160x120, 11mb)
- MEDIUM (MPEG format, 320x240, 20mb)
- LARGE (MPEG format, 640x240, 68mb)
- March 21, 2001: A conversation with Christopher Reeve is the centerpiece of a 60 minute television show called The Bionic Body, an exploration on technological changes in the medical community that are giving paralysis patients hope. The show, hosted by Alan Alda, airs Tuesday, March 27, at 8pm EST on PBS stations and is part of the Scientific American Frontiers series.
- March 22, 2001: Warner Bros. took issue with a report published by Digital Media FX, resulting in further discussions between them and the author/publisher. The following information was released...
The original Digital Media FX indicated that Warner Bros had scrapped plans to show the "Special Edition" of Superman: The Movie beyond San Antonio, Texas. The report stated that the "San Antonio only" theatrical re-release would simply be followed by the May 1st release of the DVD. Thankfully Warner Bros. have stepped in to squash the rumor.
Sources very close to the project insist that despite the report by Digital Media FX, Superman may still get a wide screen release and that San Antonio is only a "preview screening."
"Based on theatrical response [in San Antonio], Warner Bros. will decide if they want to go a little wider and wider and therefore don't blow huge amounts of national TV money," says a source very close to the project.
The WB source also states that this is no different from the pattern used to take the rerelease of The Exorcist into a wide release.
While only the wide release aspect of the article was disputed, Digital Media FX was also told that the May 1 DVD release date referred to was not set in stone and doesn't officially appear on any WB release schedules (although unofficially it may appear on some documents). The DVD date can change depending on how well Superman performs in San Antonio this weekend, determining if it will open "a little wider".
- March 28, 2001: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Dana Reeve will be at Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania tomorrow at 6:00pmET to attend the Freedom to Fly fashion show. The show, featuring the best of American and European designer collections, benefits The Geoffrey Lance Foundation for spinal-cord injury research and support. Lance is a Huntingdon Valley native who became a paraplegic after a surfing accident in California. A tie that Lance designed will be sold to benefit the charity. For information and tickets, which are $75 and $100, call 1-877-452-6231.
- March 29, 2001: Christopher Reeve gave the keynote address last Sunday at the grand opening of the Kessler Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital in Rockville, Maryland. Reeve was invited to speak there by his former physical therapist, Erica Druin, now the director of rehabilitation at the Adventist hospital. "I had told him when I was working with him at his home after he left Kessler that I was taking a new job," Druin said. "I asked him, 'Wouldn't it be exciting if you came down and visited patients when I start?' And he said sure. Our casual conversation led to him agreeing to come." Druin said working with Reeve was memorable. "He was a great patient to work with," she said. "He was very motivated. He was very interested in knowing what was going on. He learned all about it and looked into what research was going on. It's always great to work with someone who takes that active of a role." She recalled how Reeve worked hard to try to breathe without a ventilator. "His wife and I were cheering him on as we monitored how long he could stay off the ventilator one day," she said. "I remember the first time we broke the five-minute mark. We were so excited. We took a Polaroid picture of it. That was a big milestone to be there and be a part of his recovery."
While in Rockville, Reeve also attended a business briefing for HealthExtras, Inc., a leading source of affordable health and disability benefit programs. "I became the spokesman for HealthExtras because the company provided a win-win situation by offering people the opportunity to purchase peace of mind," said Christopher Reeve. "I know from personal experience that while the doctors are working on your physical recovery, you need to work on your mental and emotional state. HealthExtras provides financial security for American families." Christopher Reeve further explained that he "only gets involved in products that have real meaning to me and the public. HealthExtras was an ideal match."
- April 10, 2001: Dana and Christopher Reeve will will deliver this year's Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. The lecture will be preceded on April 10 by a forum on the relationship between arts and disabilities. For information and tickets to the Reeves' lecture (which is open to the public) call the SCSU box office at 392-6154 or 1-888-332-5600. Christopher and Dana will speak about the latest medical developments, living with a disability, and update fans about their latest theatrical projects. In an interview, Dana Reeve said Chris is working on a television movie for ABC (which he will produce and direct), and she will be performing soon in The Crucible, a play by Connecticut playwright Arthur Miller. Chris also recently directed a public service announcement for the American Red Cross.
- April 11, 2001: Southern Connecticut State University welcomed Christopher and Dana Reeve to their campus for the third presentation of the Distinguished Lecture Series. The couple met with students from the university's theatre department, Disability Resource Office (DRO) and student government, as well as with the media, corporate sponsors and community leaders. Nearly 1,500 people attended the lecture in the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts and were captivated by the couple as they spoke about their commitment to each other, to the disabled community and to finding a cure for paralysis. The series, begun in 1999, brings noted statesmen and newsmakers to campus. The event, which raises money for scholarships, is underwritten by corporate sponsorship from local companies, such as the HB Communications, Barnes & Noble, the New Haven Register and Coca Cola.
- April 14, 2001: Christopher Reeve will travel to Montreal, Canada, to be Honorary Chairman of The XXIIIrd International Symposium of the Center for Research in Neurological Sciences of the Universitˇ de Montrˇal. The title of this year's symposium, to be held from May 6 to 8, 2001, is "Spinal Cord Trauma: Neural Repair and Functional Recovery." This symposium will cover, in a broad perspective, research on spinal cord injury, beginning with human spinal cord injury to experimental studies in animals, to molecular mechanisms of injury and regeneration. The scope will include rehabilitation and functional repair in human patients and in animal models, strategies for neuroprotection and regeneration, cell transplantation into injured spinal cord, strategies to overcome growth inhibition, and possible roles of axon guidance molecules in injury and regeneration. This three-day meeting will consist of 20 minute presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Top spinal cord injury researchers from around the world are scheduled to attend.
- April 24, 2001: Profiles of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Christopher Reeve, Martin Luther King Jr. and Marian Wright Edelman are included in a new book by Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon. Titled Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By, the book emphasizes nine core values that were held by Jackie Robinson -- courage, justice, teamwork, citizenship, determination, integrity, persistence, commitment and excellence. Sharon Robinson said: "It was important for me to use others' experiences because that's how my parents taught us these values," Robinson says. "They didn't just sit us down and say, 'You've got to have courage.' It was really about watching how they always got back up." Sharon Robinson, Major League Baseball's director of educational programming, is visiting classrooms and ballparks until the All-Star break as part of the Breaking Barriers program, sponsored by MLB and the players association. The program, in its fourth year, was initiated by Robinson to teach youngsters strategies to overcome obstacles. Since its inception, 150,000-200,000 students from ages 9-14 have taken part annually in the Breaking Barriers program.
- April 25, 2001: A new television commercial, titled "Broken Vase," premiered the week of April 16, 2001, on cable stations nationwide. The ad represents a partnership between HealthExtras and JC Penney Life Insurance Company and features HealthExtras' spokesperson Christopher Reeve promoting one of the company's simple, affordable insurance benefits, its Accident Disability Program. Reeve delivers the commercial's closing words - "when you're involved in a serious accident, the last thing, the last thing, you want to worry about is money."
- April 29, 2001: The cast of "Superman: The Movie" will reunite on the Warner Bros. Lot for a donation to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation in commemoration of the DVD Premiere of "Superman: The Movie"
Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Other Cast Members and Director Richard Donner in Check Presentation at Warner Bros. Museum's "Superman Exhibit"
WHO: Cast and filmmakers of "Superman: The Movie," one of the most treasured and successful motion pictures in Warner Bros.' history: Margot Kidder (Lois Lane); Valerie Perrine (Eve Teschmacher); Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen); Sarah Douglas (Ursa); Jack O'Halloran (Non); Jeff East (Young Superman); Richard Donner (director); Tom Mankiewicz (creative consultant); Warner Home Video executives; and representatives from Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Also participating will be Christopher Reeve (Superman) and Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), who will send their greetings via tape.
WHAT: Check presentation by Warner Home Video to Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation to honor Christopher Reeve and to commemorate the release of "Superman: The Movie" on DVD.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 1, 2001 9:30 a.m. Breakfast and Press Arrivals 10:00 a.m. Presentation
WHERE: Warner Bros. Museum Burbank, Calif. In front of the "Superman" exhibit, featuring memorabilia and actual costumes worn by Reeve, Perrine, Marlon Brando and Hackman. Enter Gate No. 4 -- Hollywood Way Gate. Call for directions, if needed.
WHY: To honor Reeve and his Foundation's outstanding work on behalf of the estimated 250,000 Americans and their families who are challenged by spinal cord injuries and to commemorate the long-awaited DVD release of the megahit, "Superman: The Movie."
Warner Home Video
Ronnee Sass, 818/954-6439 or
Carl Samrock PR
Elliott Chang, 818/260-0777
- May 4, 2001: Christopher Reeve was Charlie Rose's guest on his show which airs on PBS stations. During the interview, Reeve expressed concerns that the Bush administration's reservations about using human embryos will hamper stem cell research.
- May 5, 2001: While promoting the new Special Edition release of Superman: The Movie with eight minutes of extra footage, Richard Donner talked on the phone from his Los Angeles office with Desmond Ryan of The Philadelphia Inquirer about the damper on the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, since Reeve became paralyzed from the neck down. Donner was asked if it is difficult for him to watch Reeve now as Superman. Donner said, "It's a terrible feeling." Adding, "I'm close to Chris, and I speak to him quite often, but the same fortitude [that Reeve brought to Superman] will make that man walk again. There's a lot of pain and emotion when I think about it, but I know he's going to do it."
- May 7, 2001: While speaking in Montreal at the 23rd International Symposium on Spinal Cord Trauma last Sunday, Christopher Reeve said that the U.S. health-care system could learn from Canada's example. "In Canada, there is real leadership," he said, citing Dr. Alberto Aiguerro of McGill University who began research into spinal-cord injuries two decades ago. "He is really the father of the spinal-cord recovery movement." Reeve said the United States has all the brains, money and facilities needed for pace-setting medical research, but it's held back by "unreasonable attitudes." Reeve said President George W. Bush's government is concerned about the researchers using human embryonic stem cells because it's worried about abortion. "But human embryonic stem cells, that could cure millions of people, are not fetuses and will never become human beings. They're routinely thrown into the garbage." Reeve said he's anxiously hoping for his own recovery but doesn't expect it will occur as part of a single episode. "What's most likely to happen is an incremental recovery," he said. "It's not like you'll suddenly be able to leap out of bed."
- May 29, 2001: In an interview Tuesday on NBC's Today, Christopher Reeve laughed about his screen test for Superman: The Movie. "They had to be out of their minds," he said. "I was 6 foot 4, but I was pretty skinny - probably weighed 185, 190. It was a leap of faith. The makeup department came out with a fake set of upper body muscles, with biceps and everything, of foam rubber. I said, 'I'm not going to do that. I promise, I'll go to the gym.'" Reeve, who was just 25 years old when Superman first was released, added: "I think the reason that I wanted to be part of it was because it was a brand new venture which now has become the benchmark of all comic book movies... I didn't know that the movie would last, whether it would hold up as well as it does." Of his current situation, Reeve said: "There's a very strong mind-body connection. You can do a lot to help heal yourself, no matter what you've got."
- May 30, 2001: In a move to keep highly controversial Stem Cell research federally funded, Christopher Reeve and seven scientists filed a federal lawsuit in Washington earlier this month accusing the Bush administration of illegally withholding funding for stem cell research. The suit claims that Bush officials have skipped over administrative procedures necessary to halt research that federal statutes have made legal. Reeve and the scientists say the administration is doing "irreparable harm" by delaying the creation of therapies they believe could save lives. The Bush administration, which has halted all funding and ordered a review of the issue, now has less than 60 days to respond to the lawsuit. Reeve issued the following statement regarding his involvement: "The purpose of the lawsuit is to take away any excuse the Bush Administration could use to say that the current NIH Guidelines for Research Using Human Pluripotent Stem Cells, issued under the Clinton Administration, are illegal. I joined this lawsuit with these leading scientists because of the hope that all stem cell research offers to improve the lives of millions of Americans suffering today from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other afflictions. I hope that my participation will give a voice to those people who are suffering the devastating physical, emotional and financial impact of these conditions. Any further delay is truly not ethical." Many people strongly disagree with Reeve's view of what is "ethical". This article in the San Francisco Chronicle explores the issue.
- June 7, 2001: The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation has teamed with back-to-back U.S. Women's Open Champion Karrie Webb to host an online golf contest. The Grand Prize Winner will receive two VIP credentials to the 2nd Annual Karrie Webb Celebrity Pro-Am where they will spend the day with nine of the LPGA's best golfers and some of Hollywood's famous faces. The online contest is free and open to United States residents. Details are available at the CRPF. Karrie Webb was moved to meet with Christopher Reeve after her longtime coach and mentor, Kelvin Haller, was rendered quadriplegic after a tragic accident in Australia. The result of that meeting was the First Annual Karrie Webb Celebrity Pro-Am, held July 10, 2000. Due to the tremendous success of that first year, where over $125,000 was raised for the Reeve Foundation in a single day, it was decided to make the Karrie Webb Celebrity Pro-Am an annual fundraising event.
- June 15, 2001: Christopher Reeve is writing a book about lessons he's learned since being paralyzed six years ago. Nothing Is Impossible will be published by Random House in the fall of 2002. "This book is about the path to realizing that nothing is unimaginable and everything is possible," Reeve, said in a statement Thursday. "And the best news is, it doesn't take Superman. We can all do it." According to Thursday's statement, Reeve will write about the importance of family, the need for community and "his newfound appreciation that sometimes we all must struggle to overcome seemingly overwhelming obstacles."
- June 17, 2001: Glenn Close and Christopher Reeve attended the opening of the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York, Saturday, June 16, 2001. The film center will show independent films, documentaries, international films and movie classics chosen in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
- July 1, 2001: The Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, run by American Cinematheque, will be screening the digitally restored version of "Superman: The Movie" at the Opening Night of their "2nd Annual Festival of Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction" on Friday, August 3rd at 7:00pm. If you need additional info, you can check out the Egyptian Theatre website.
- July 2, 2001: The Minnesota Society for Interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy (MISFITS) in association with Nathan Block of the Plaza Maplewood Theater presents: The Exclusive MidWest Theatrical Premiere of SUPERMAN: THE SPECIAL EDITION Restored Director's Cut. This special presentation of MISFITS Sci-Fi Movie Night will be shown at the Plaza Maplewood Theater (1847 East Larpenteur Ave., Maplewood, MN) August 17-23, 2001. Showtimes are at 1:00pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm each day, with additional 10:00pm showtimes on Friday August 17 and Saturday August 18. Ticket prices are $5/Adult and $3/Child (under 12). The 10:00pm showings are only $4/Adult and $2/Child.
- July 12, 2001: Washington Post held a live chat with Christopher Reeve at 1:00pmET on the subject of embryonic stem cell research. When someone asked him during the chat if he and Michael J. Fox will pool efforts to make more of an impact to research other diseases like Parkinson's, Reeve said, "Yes, that is exactly our strategy. We do not want to be perceived as a special interest group when millions of Americans are suffering from so many diseases that could be cured by stem cells. People with spinal cord injuries are just one segment of that population." Reeve also said the status of the May lawsuit is in negotiations. He filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington against the Bush Administration for withholding funding for the research while President Bush examines the subject before announcing his position on it.
- July 15, 2001: In a last ditch effort to persuade the United States government to fund the highly controversial embryonic stem cell research, Christopher Reeve and Mary Tyler Moore wrote an editorial that was published in the LA Times. In the article they say, "Recent newspaper stories have described research advances using adult stem cells or stem cells from fat tissue, which some have tried to use to bolster their arguments against research using stem cells harvested from fertilized eggs. But 80 Nobel Prize winners recently wrote to President Bush to say it is much too early to tell whether adult stem cells have the same potential as their embryonic counterparts. The studies behind the news reports also make it clear that scientists don't yet have conclusive proof that fat tissue really does contain stem cells." Reeve also said this recently through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, "I believe that any reasonable person who is willing to listen to both sides of the argument can be convinced that it is possible to be pro-life and pro-stem cell research at the same time." It is also worth mentioning that Ron Heagy, another quadaplegic motivational speaker, testified before the Senate in opposition to the United States government funding embyronic stem cell research. In Heagy's testimony before the US Senate he said, "If we are to continue with this type of research, please let it remain in the hands of private funding sources. Hollywood and those who are in favor of ESCR, are financially capable, and carry enough clout, to encourage those who are willing to enhance embryonic stem cell research."
- July 16, 2001: The flying suit and hair piece worn by actor Christopher Reeve in the 1978 film "Superman" stand on display at Christie's auction house in New York, July 13, 2001. The "Superman" items, which are expected to fetch between US$14,000-US$16,000 along with a collection of other entertainment memorabelia including Bette Davis' Oscar from the 1938 film "Jezebel", will go on auction at Christie's July 19.
- July 28, 2001: Christopher Reeve, Mary Tyler Moore, and others favoring research involving embryonic stem cells, continue to pressure President Bush, who is said to be agonizing over the stem-cell decision, one of the most important of his presidency. On CNN's Late Edition, Reeve argued against focusing only on adult stem cells, saying this would be a "big mistake because you could spend the next five years on adult stem cells and find out they are not capable of doing what we already know embryonic stem cells are capable of doing now." In another interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Reeve noted that fertility clinics have for years routinely discarded unwanted embryos in the garbage and argued that "We don't want to create embryos just for research. We want to rescue these cells from the garbage....I don't understand how you can be opposed to that. I don't." It is interesting that, on the same day that this interview aired, Pope John Paul II told President Bush as the two met for the first time at the pontiff's summer residence that the destruction of human embryos is "evil," equating it to infanticide. In his publicly televised statement, John Paul, whose staunch opposition to embryonic stem-cell research was already well known, said: "A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death." The President responded: "I'll take that view into consideration as I make up my mind on a very difficult issue confronting the United States of America."
- August 8, 2001: On July 19th a number of items from the "Superman" movies starring Christopher Reeve went under the hammer at a Christies Auction held in New York. A group of six storyboards from "Superman III" rendered in pencil, ink and pen, depicting the fight sequence in the cave at the end of the film and all date stamped 4 Jun 1982 were sold for US$705.00. A complete Superman costume that Christopher Reeve wore as he portrayed the super hero fetched a price of US$14,100.00. Consisting of a turquoise, red and yellow leotard with an 'S' logo on the chest, a red cape with the 'S' logo on the back, a pair of turquoise leggings, a yellow vinyl belt and a pair of red leather boots, this particular ensemble was worn for the flying sequences as evidenced by the slightly different turquoise color of the costume (it matches the 'blue screen' filming that simulated flying) and the harness slits in it. A handwritten notation of Nathan-Berman CR Fly appears on the inside zipper lining of the leotard and the boots note either CR R 4 or CR L 4. A letter of authenticity stating that this costume originally came from Ilya Salkind, executive producer of "Superman," was also included. A large archive of photographic materials relating to the production of "Superman" including negatives, stills, contact sheets and transparencies showing set locations and behind-the-scenes action remained unsold. Some of the more compelling contact sheets are attributed to photographer Bob Penn and show Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Richard Donner, Margot Kidder and others both on and off the set. Another item that did not sell was a 'Daily Planet' newspaper prop with the headline White House Surrenders next to am image of General Zod, as portrayed by Terence Stamp, which was used in the second "Superman" film. A hairpiece worn by Christopher Reeve as he portrayed Superman sold for US$881.25. Styled to look perfectly coiffed, this synthetic brown-haired wig was still pinned to its original dummy head and the trademark spitcurl evident on the forehead. Finally, bids on a group of five blueprints created during the pre-production phases that depict Superman in various super activities such as working underground to push the earth back in place, rescuing a school bus, looking at missles and flying through the air with Lois Lane, did not meet the expected price and remained unsold. Images of the Fortress of Solitude and the North Pole set designs were included as was a certificate of authenticity.
- August 9, 2001: President George W. Bush announced his decision, in his first primetime address on a specific topic broadcast live from his Crawford, Texas ranch, on the US government's role in funding the much-hyped highly controversial embyronic stem cell research. In his address President Bush said, "The United States has a long and proud record of leading the world toward advances in science and medicine that improve human life. And the United States has a long and proud record of upholding the highest standards of ethics as we expand the limits of science and knowledge. Research on embryonic stem cells raises profound ethical questions, because extracting the stem cell destroys the embryo, and thus destroys its potential for life. Like a snowflake, each of these embryos is unique, with the unique genetic potential of an individual human being... At its core, this issue forces us to confront fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science. It lies at a difficult moral intersection, juxtaposing the need to protect life in all its phases with the prospect of saving and improving life in all its stages... And while we must devote enormous energy to conquering disease, it is equally important that we pay attention to the moral concerns raised by the new frontier of human embryo stem cell research. Even the most noble ends do not justify any means... My position on these issues is shaped by deeply held beliefs. I'm a strong supporter of science and technology, and believe they have the potential for incredible good -- to improve lives, to save life, to conquer disease. Research offers hope that millions of our loved ones may be cured of a disease and rid of their suffering...And while we're all hopeful about the potential of this research, no one can be certain that the science will live up to the hope it has generated. Eight years ago, scientists believed fetal tissue research offered great hope for cures and treatments -- yet, the progress to date has not lived up to its initial expectations. Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril. So I have decided we must proceed with great care. As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist. They were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing opportunities for research. I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life and death decision has already been made. Leading scientists tell me research on these 60 lines has great promise that could lead to breakthrough therapies and cures. This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research without crossing a fundamental moral line, by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life. I also believe that great scientific progress can be made through aggressive federal funding of research on umbilical cord placenta, adult and animal stem cells which do not involve the same moral dilemma. This year, your government will spend $250 million on this important research." A President's council, headed by respected bioethicist Dr. Leon Kass of the University of Chicago, will also be named to monitor the research and recommend appropiate guidelines and regulations by considering all medical and ethical ramifications.
Immediately after the President's address Christopher Reeve voiced his first reaction by telephone on Larry King Live while on vacation. Reeve said, "A little bit more mixed, Larry. I feel that nobody really knew that there were 60 stem cells available. And I don't know that these lines have been examined to know how well they would work or what condition they are in. And I think that that is something that should have been done. However, I think it is a step in the right direction. I'm grateful for that to the president."
Reeve also added that he will push Congress to make the suspended guidelines law. Reeve also said when King asked him if he expected more, "No. I didn't, actually, because I know how difficult this was for the president to try to play all sides politically, and I don't think he did it just politically, I do believe he really thought about it. I'm just disappointed because I think it will slow down progress. The scientists that I have talked to really feel that you need new stem cells that are going to be discarded from fertility clinics anyway. And that old frozen ones may not do the job. So I'm a little bit concerned and I don't know where this 60 stem cell lines come from. That is something of a surprise that needs to be looked into."
King also had Mary Tyler Moore on in person for her reaction as well, among others. By the way, Moore's first reaction to the president's decision when King asked her was, "I'm pleased, I am very pleased. We always wish it were more, but you know this -- compared to what we were all fearing might happen, this is good."
- August 16, 2001: Barbara Johnson, Christopher Reeve's mother, appeared at a press conference with New Jersey Representive Rush Holt, a Democrat of the 12th Congressional district and embattled New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli to voice their criticism of President Bush's decision to limit federal funding to already existing stem cell lines. Reeve did not appear in person but had his statement that he released through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation passed out to reporters. The statement dated August 9th read, "President Bush's decision today to allow federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research on a limited basis is a step in the right direction. However, this political compromise may seriously hinder progress towards finding treatments and cures for a wide variety of diseases and disorders that affect 100 million Americans. By allowing scientists access even to only 60 existing stem cell lines, the President is still limiting the pace and effectiveness of federally supported research. Scientists may need to use an unknown number of cell lines and should not be restricted to those few that presently exist. Recent polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support research within the guidelines of the National Institutes of Health adopted during the Clinton Administration. Few issues enjoy broader bipartisan support in Congress. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation supports President Bush's appointment of an advisory council on stem cell research and welcomes the opportunity to serve on such a council. Because of the President's decision, it may now be up to Congress to enact legislation that will enable scientists to fully explore the potential of human embryonic stem cell research." Johnson said, "Chris has always made it clear that he's not just pushing for a cure for spinal injuries, not just for himself...I think that the Congress of the United States will be a field for the debate because President Bush's guidelines are so narrow." President Bush said he would veto any legislation that would broaden the research. One week after President Bush's decision, 60% of Americans in a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll said they approved of his plan. Ironically, Reeve's reaction is in sharp contrast to a TIME magazine editorial he wrote over a year ago that appeared in the May 1, 2000 issue where he was also pushing for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. What Reeve wrote then about stem cells where changed his position is, "Their extraordinary potential is a recent discovery. And much basic research needs to be done before they can be sent to the front lines in the battle against disease. But no obstacle should stand in the way of responsible investigation of their possibilities. To that end, the work should be funded and supervised by the U.S. government through the National Institutes of Health...Under NIH supervision, scientists should be allowed to take cells only from women who freely consent to their use for research. This process would not be open ended; within one to two years a sufficient number could be gathered and made available to investigators..." Now Reeve, who seems to be desperate for a cure, wants the basic research he mentioned above that is necessary skipped, so that the pace of the research is not slowed down in his eyes. He wants it to go directly to the advanced stage of human trials, which is said to be years away, faster by broadening the federally funded research to include 'left over' embryos in fertility clinics that Reeve thinks will somehow hurry the pace of the research. Some people feel any research using stem cells - even those from embryos already killed - is immoral. There are others, many of them in the scientific community, who say it is far from certain that embryonic stem cells will lead to the breakthroughs supporters hope for.
- September 4, 2001: A lengthy message from Christopher Reeve was released through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation to raise money. In the message Reeve compares NASA's 1969 moon landing to paralysis research. The complete statement reads: "In 1961, President Kennedy issued the challenge to land an American on the moon before the end of the decade. At the time, scientists thought this was impossible - no one had yet envisioned a vehicle that could make a successful landing on the moon and then take off again. Yet the vision was so captivating, to both scientists and the American public, that it became a reality. Science fiction became truth. It took the combined efforts of 400,000 workers at NASA and dozens of companies that made the component parts, but in July 1969 Neil Armstrong took that giant leap for mankind. Just a few short years ago, the notion of the two million people worldwide living with paralysis getting out of their wheelchairs and walking again, seemed about as practical as walking on the cratered surface of the moon did four decades ago. But today, in this new millennium, we know that it IS going to happen, and it's only a matter of when. At CRPF, we've assembled the world's best scientific minds, a team to rival the American pioneers who conquered outer space in 1969. The neuroscientists we support are making their own giant leaps, only this time, in inner space. The steps they've taken in repairing the damaged spinal cord are only surpassed by the speed with which they've taken them. Finding effective treatments and a cure for paralysis is a tremendous undertaking - I've learned as much in the six years since my accident. But this does not mean we should abandon our efforts; rather, it means we need to intensify them. Neil Armstrong never would have walked on the moon without the support of the American people. Similarly, I know that my dream of walking again will not be fulfilled without the help of people like you. And because every day gone by is another day I and millions more live with paralysis, there is no time to waste. You can get involved in our mission right now, by signing up to receive our free e-newsletter. And if you're feeling particularly inspired, please consider making a contribution to CRPF. Your generosity is deeply appreciated. Together, I believe we will knock down the once seemingly insurmountable obstacles to ending paralysis. If we can put a man on the moon, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Sincerely, Christopher Reeve".
- September 13, 2001: THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE PARALYSIS FOUNDATION RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT FROM CHRISTOPHER AND DANA REEVE IN REACTION TO TUESDAY'S TERRORIST ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY:
Dana and I extend our most heartfelt thoughts and wishes to the people affected by yesterday's terrorist attacks. We grieve for the senseless loss of so many lives, and our hearts go out to those who have lost friends and loved ones.
In coming weeks, we urge all Americans to support ongoing relief efforts in New York and Washington by donating blood or using the links below to make a donation directly to support organizations.
- Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE
- Click here for Red Cross online information about giving blood: www.redcross.org
- America's Blood Centers is a national network of non-profit, independent community blood centers: www.americasblood.org
Together, we will get through this dark time.
- Donate directly at the Red Cross Web Site: www.redcross.org
- NOTE: Due to the high volume of Web traffic, the Red Cross Web site has been experiencing some occasional difficulties. If you follow the link above and get an error page, you can also donate through Amazon.com, which is passing all contributions directly through to the Red Cross: www.amazon.com
Christopher and Dana Reeve
- September 20, 2001: Christopher and Dana Reeve will host Remembrance and Reflection: An Observance to Remember New Jersey's Victims and Honor Our Heroes on Sunday, September 23, 2001 at the South Overlook of Liberty State Park from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. This observance and candlelight vigil is organized by The State of New Jersey and will feature appearances by Ray Charles and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Victims, their families and friends, response and rescue workers and the general public wishing to show their support for New Jerseyans most affected by the events of September 11, 2001 are invited to attend. Information on obtaining passes for the event is available on the state's website. New Jersey Network Public Television will broadcast "Remembrance and Reflection" live. The program will also air simultaneously on NJN Public Radio and on www.njn.net via streaming video.
- September 23, 2001: The hopeful and nonpolitical speeches Christopher and Dana Reeve gave at the Remembrance & Reflections: An Observance Honoring New Jersey's Victims and Heroes event left the audience attending in awe and in silence at their appearance. Some of what Christopher Reeve said in his speech was, "... September 11th instantly brought us together as one people... There have been many defining moments in our past when we have put aside our differences and come together as one to face extraordinary challenges... And yet, for all the times we have shown ourselves to be a truly generous, courageous, and heroic people, too often in times of relative tranquility and economic growth we tend to forget... We forget that our strength and our greatness come from our unity and common resolve... Both as individuals and as a nation we will find resources within us we never knew we had. This defining moment, beyond all others, despite our tremendous loss, will bring out the very best in us. Although it may seem hard to believe today, the truth is we will heal and go on." In Dana Reeve's speech, she gave hers before Chris gave his, she said, "We come to honor the bravery and commitment of rescue workers, police, and volunteers. I am truly amazed and humbled by the stories of heroism, which have emerged out of this tragedy. We come today also to honor America and our beautiful, injured city, New York. It is time to try to begin the long process of healing. This wonÕt be easy to do, but it can be done...I couldnÕt help but be reminded of our own personal crisis of six and a half years ago. Now, I bring this up not because I mean to equate in any way what happened to my husband and our family with the massively violent and life altering attacks on our country and thousands of innocent citizens. No, there is truly no comparison. I bring it up simply in the hope that we can offer some comfort, some assurance that no matter how horrible things feel now, how precarious, how hopeless, things will eventually feel better." Chris and Dana also surfaced again in the end during Ray Charles's finale, along with everyone else who performed or spoke at the event.
- September 24, 2001: In a letter to us from Oswald Steward, PH.D., Director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, the doctor made an exciting announcement concerning an agreement one of the Center's scientists has made. Steward said in the letter, "The Reeve-Irvine Research Center is delighted to report that we will begin human stem cell research in the very near future. The Center's Dr. Hans Keirstead has signed an agreement with Geron, the company that holds the patents on 6 of the existing stem cell lines included in Mr. Bush's decision. Geron has agreed to provide these cells to the Center. We are the first center to receive these cells for studies of spinal cord injury. The importance of stem cells lies in the fact that they can, at least theorically, become any cell type, providing a potential source for cells to rebuild the nervous system. We don't know yet how to take advantage of this potential, and this is why basic research is necessary. It may be possible to implant these cells into an injured spinal cord, where they might become new neurons that can bridge the gap left by the injury. Or, these cells could become support cells that provide the critical environment in which damaged nerve cells can regenerate. At this time, we just don't know; but we're going to find out!"
- September 26, 2001: In an interview with the Telegraph, a British newspaper, Christopher Reeve broke some exciting news about his progress towards recovery, along with his worst moment since his accident, and his view on President Bush's stem cell research decision. Reeve told the newspaper that the worst thing that he experienced since his accident was a scare he had in 1997 when his doctors told him they had to amputate one of his legs below the knee. Reeve said, "What I couldn't accept was the day the doctors came to me and said that my leg would have to be amputated below the knee. I'd developed an infection on my ankle that wouldn't heal and they said that it would spread if I didn't have part of my leg removed. I wanted to draw a line in the sand and say: 'That's it. I've had enough. This is unacceptable. I've put up with all that I'm going to bear and the leg is staying right where it is'." He insisted on receiving an intensive treatment of antibiotics, to "flush out the infection" that ended up healing his ankle and saving his leg. Reeve, who views stem cell research as the only possible cure on the horizon for spinal cord injuries (leaving out the recent advance in axon regeneration), is evidently more desperate for a cure then ever before when he told the interviewer that he is ready to have the procedure done as soon as his doctors think it's reasonably safe and that he doesn't want to wait until it is proved to be 100% foolproof. On President Bush's stem cell research compromise Reeve said, "I don't like the compromise, but - for the time being - it's better than nothing. We'll find a way around it. Either Congress will vote for a change or individual states such as New York and California will fund their own research efforts on stem cells. Right now, everyone's attention is on terrorism, but we can't stop fighting to cure paralysis. The problem isn't going to go away." The most exciting news Reeve had was when he demonstrated that he can move his index finger up and down a couple inches and that he can also move his wrist and thumb. "I can't explain how I've taught myself to do it, but somehow I'm getting a signal down there. Something important is happening. First, I was able to move the finger and now I can also move my thumb and the wrist of my other hand. It's the kind of progress that makes me think that I will definitely walk again. I have the will. All I need is the science."
- September 27, 2001: Christopher Reeve (and this website) are the focus of an article at the "Stars of the '70s and '80s" website at Suite101.com. Titled "Christopher Reeve - The Man of Steel" and written by Dexter Wolfe, the article is basically a biographical look at Chris' life and acting career.
- September 30, 2001: The Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Vall-Kill honored Christopher Reeve at The 2001 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony. The recipients of the Val-Kill Awards this year are individuals who exemplify First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's humanitarian spirit. Medallists are those who contribute to society in such fields as citizenship, education, the arts, community service, philanthropy and other humanitarian concerns. At the ceremony, Kate Roosevelt Whitney, introduced Reeve saying he continues "the work of Eleanor Roosevelt in (his) daily works and of (his) life." Reeve said the nation was engaged in an effort to return to normal life, and acknowledged that for some people, normal is a difficult concept. He related the story of a polio-stricken Franklin D. Roosevelt, struggling to walk to the podium to address a nation that didn't know he used a wheelchair. "The American people couldn't accept the image of their president in a wheelchair. The struggle it must have been, for him to walk to that podium without the nation knowing how he felt." Reeve then pointed to the National Institute of Health -- created by the former president and said, "Polio is no longer the dread disease it was because of him." Reeve urged caution for the United States in the struggle to return to normalcy and said healing should include acceptance, not the dividing and subdividing so common in society. "The next step for us in this country," Reeve said, "is to put that kind of thinking aside. The simple way to do it is to say, 'I am that person, and that person is me.'"
- October 1, 2001: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke announces that Christopher Reeve is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, October 9th at 3:45pm in a speech titled "My View" as part of a two-day event celebrating 50 years of brain research and the National Institutes of Health. "My View" is personal remarks from patients and advocates who have benefited from advances in brain research. Reeve will discuss the contribution of brain research toward helping him and other patients with spinal cord injuries. In the other session, four Nobel Prize winning neuroscientists will have a panel discussion of how past and current research has led to a better understanding of the brain and how this will lead to treatments and cures for neurological diseases.
- October 1, 2001: A press release announces that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will present Christopher Reeve with an oversize check on Wednesday, October 10th at 11:00amET in the amount of two million dollars on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Room 385 of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The check represents the grant awarded by the CDC to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation to launch the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center. It will enable the new Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) to coordinate a facility staffed with specialists, a library and a website that will provide educational materials, referral services, and self-help guidance to those living with paralysis, their families and their caregivers. Also scheduled to be in attendence are Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Representatives Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.).
- October 9, 2001: At the a symposium that marked the 50-year anniversary of brain research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Christopher Reeve spoke of the need for science to continue to progress in the search for treatments and cures saying, "We're afraid that there will be a loss of focus due to the crisis going on in the world right now." Reeve also questioned President Bush's decision on the federal government funding only existing embryonic stem cell lines as "very difficult" for many SCI patients to hear because while it appeared to be promising on one hand, it raised a lot of questions about the number, location and viability of the lines that were made available, as well as questions about their safety given that many were cultured using mouse feeder layers. Reeve questioned whether the decision will lead to tools that are useful in therapy or whether it just let the President off the hook for the moment. Reeve also pessimistically thinks the lines may only provide scientists with material for five years of research that might not end up in therapeutics. Reeve also revealed that he made a "covenant" with researchers a while back that the race for a therapy or cure is a 50-50 deal between scientists and patients. Reeve expained by using the transcontinental railroad as an example, "The patient's job is fighting the sedentary lifestyle, from skin breakdown to [muscle] atrophy, cardiovascular problems and osteoporosis. That means electrical stimulation, using electrodes to ride a bike three times a week, aquatherapy, step training on a treadmill. It means all these things, which is luckily available for me. So, I'm blindly going ahead with the expectation that the science community is going ahead [as well]." The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation uses 30-40 percent of its income to help patients keep up "their half of the deal" through funding of quality of life grants. "I'm just afraid it will be of to no avail if we lose the focus of actually curing people," Reeve said. "It's called the National Institutes of Health, not the National Institutes of Research. Health means recovery, to the best of all our collective ability."
- October 10, 2001: Secretary Thompson presented a two million dollar check to Christopher Reeve at a news conference on Capitol Hill. The PRC facility is to be housed in Short Hills, New Jersey. The first phase of the multimillion-dollar PRC initiative will be the launch of a national interactive survey. The survey will be conducted on the Internet and by mail. The survey is posted on a new website, www.paralysis.org, and is part of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) website. "One of the most disabling aspects of paralysis is the lack of resources and support necessary to get back into a world that has completely changed for the paralyzed individual - both economically and socially," said Reeve, Chairman of CRPF. "When somebody is first injured or as a disease progresses into paralysis, people donÕt know where to turn. We will provide that support and information to people." Members of Congress instrumental in securing the federal funding for the PRC also attended the announcement. The Senators are the Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. Representative Langevin is the only spinal cord injured Member of Congress and Representative Young is Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
- October 10, 2001: The National Italian American Foundation announced in their press release that they will honor Christopher and Dana Reeve on October 20th at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C with the One America award for their outstanding work for raising funding for spinal cord injury research. NIAF said in an earlier press release about the Reeves getting the award, "The NIAF One America award exemplifies Christopher and Dana Reeve's commitment to motivate scientists around the world to conquer the most complex diseases of the brain and central nervous system through their outstanding work raising funds for spinal cord injury research. The Reeves represent the true spirit of One America. Their achievements and team effort, despite their adversities, have helped to improve the lives of all Americans." Other celebrities scheduled to attend include: Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley. United States Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is this year's dinner chairman. Yankee legend Yogi Berra and actor Dennis Farina will join other celebrities that evening. Proceeds from the events benefit the NIAF scholarship and education programs and Gardens of Hope, an inner-city food program to benefit the homeless. The press release also said The NIAF has already earmarked $250,000 in educational funds for children of rescue workers who perished in the September 11 attack on America. The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide-range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, legislative internships in Congress, conferences and cultural seminars.
- October 16, 2001: When Maria Shriver, NBC television journalist and friend of the Reeve family, wrote the children's book What's Wrong with Timmy? which helps children understand and accept children with disabilities, she sought the critical praise of Christopher Reeve and got it. Reeve wrote for the back cover, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH TIMMY? is a book that parents should read and discuss with their kids. One of the most important goals for our society must be tolerance, compassion and inclusion for everyone who is not 'normal.' Toward that end, Maria Shriver's simple narrative makes a valuable contribution." In Time Warner Bookmark's press release for the book, it says: "In WHAT'S WRONG WITH TIMMY?, Maria Shriver tackles a tough issue with the special insight and caring that comes from her and her family's longtime involvement with the rights of the disabled (her mother, Eunice Shriver, founded Special Olympics). With this book, Shriver delivers an important message of inclusion to all our children and their parents. 'We need to embrace the disabled and look at what's right about them, not what's wrong.'" The book goes on sale today.
- October 20, 2001: At the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) 26th Anniversary Gala Awards Dinner, Christopher and Dana Morosini Reeve were honored with the One America award. Lawrence Auriana, a NIAF board member, presented the Foundation's award to the Reeves. "The credit goes to my wife of such great heritage, whose ancestors were Doges in Venice," said Reeve. "I have a lot of helpers, great doctors and it's not a coincidence that many of them are Italian Americans. Ours is the perfect Italian American marriage, I am the practical one but Dana's the caring side, the Italian style. She thinks about the other person and she's the one who founded our Quality of Life Program and established a resource center.". NIAF/Sergio Franchi Music Scholar James Valenti opened the gala by singing "God Bless America," the theme of this year's gala dinner. President George W. Bush, in video, addressed the guests and highlighted the many accomplishments and resourcefulness of Italian immigrants and their families. He also spoke about the recent Columbus Day meeting at the White House with the Ganci family and Italian American leaders. The press release stated that the 2001 NIAF gala honorees were joined by Italian American members and family members of the Arlington County Battalion fire department, New York Police Department (NYPD), New York Fire Department (FDNY) and widow of FDNY Chief Peter J. Ganci, Jr. and her three children. The NIAF established its Twin Towers Relief Fund for the children of the rescue workers who perished in the September 11 attack on America in honor of Chief Ganci. During the gala dinner, NIAF Chairman Frank J. Guarini announced an additional $2.5 million donation from three banks in Italy. Proceeds from the event will benefit the NIAF scholarship and education programs and Gardens of Hope, an inner-city food program to benefit the homeless.
- October 26, 2001: As the keynote speaker in the first night of Parents Weekend 2001 at Brown University in Rhode Island, Christopher Reeve talked about parents' role in helping their children to succeed. Reeve, whose eldest son, Matthew, is a senior at Brown, was invited by Brown President Ruth Simmons to deliver the keynote address. Parents and students formed a line that stretched out onto the sidewalk and down the street for a chance to hear him at the Salomon Center for Teaching. Reeve said to the parents about their children, "They were not born to become replicas of ourselves." Afterward, while answering questions from the audience, Reeve spoke about his priorities as an activist, and how he lives with his paralysis. When a student asked him what people can do to improve handicapped accessibility to buildings, especially on a campus filled with inaccessible buildings, Reeve said he's found that the best way to effect change is "simply to show up." "I've actually had some fun doing that," Reeve said. He will go to a restaurant he used to frequent before his accident, and when he can't get in, "I say, 'You know, I really would have liked to have dinner here. Maybe next time.' And then a few months later, you come back and there's a ramp."
- November 10, 2001: MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania invited Christopher Reeve to return as the guest speaker to announce the formation of the Christopher Reeve Fellowship Grant that is dedicated to activities that further the cure for spinal cord injury. Reeve was scheduled to speak at 7:00pm at the Black Tie White Coat Ball located at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. At this event MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine also celebrated its renewed vitality.
- November 13, 2001: The 2001 Christopher Reeve Research Medal, along with its $50,000 cash prize, was awarded to Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D. of the University of Miami School of Medicine and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the 11th annual Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation's black tie gala A Magical Evening held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Dr. Oswald Steward, Director of The Reeve-Irvine Research Center and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, presented Bunge the award. Bunge was awarded in recognition for her work on spinal cord injury and paralysis, specifically, for her understanding of Schwann cells and their ability to promote regeneration of central nervous system axons. Bunge's current research focuses on combining various strategies with cellular bridges to improve spinal cord neuroprotection and repair following injury. This year's event theme was "Discover the Magic" to celebrate the progress scientists have made in the understanding and treatment of the damaged spinal cord. The Master of Ceremonies was actress Helen Hunt. Other celebrites attending, included Alec Baldwin, Kevin Bacon, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, and of course Christopher and Dana Reeve. Also attending the fundraiser was magician David Blaine, who Reeve used as a metaphor for the future of science. "We now need our scientists to make the kind of daring leaps that parallel what David Blaine does," Reeve said, "to use their skills and knowledge to make scientific steps forward that may seem as radical as freezing yourself in a block of ice." The event raised over $3.5 million, which will be used by the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation to fund research on spinal cord injury throughout the world.
- November 26, 2001: In the November 26, 2001 issue of People Weekly, Christopher Reeve confirmed that for three decades he has suffered from Alopecia Areata, "an incurable disease affecting 4 million people that results in varying degrees of hair loss." Reeve said in the interview: "I first had it when I was 16. All my life it's come and gone. It started with a bald spot right at the crown of my head. In all that time some hair (on my head) would fall out and then grow back. But in the last year it has been more apparent than usual. (For the first time) it's affected my eyebrows, but they are growing back. There's no real explanation for it. It's kind of like allergies. Sometimes people have a good season and a bad season. So in the last six months in particular I've lost more hair than usual. The fact is I'm in the best health I've been in since the accident in '95. I'm stronger and I'm progessing with physical therapy. That's why it's so ironic that because my hair fell out, people have been concerned about my health." Reeve receives cortisone shots in the scalp every three weeks to treat his hair loss. It was also mentioned in the article that the gala to benefit Reeve's Foundation on November 13 raised more than $3 million.
- December 17, 2001: A lengthy year-end message from Christopher Reeve used to solicit money was distributed through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Reeve wrote: "Happy Holidays from Dana and me and everyone at the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. The holidays have come more quietly this year. The gaiety that typically accompanies the season has appropriately been toned down in deference to the ongoing conflict that began September 11. Even though this holiday season is a time for reflection, it would be a mistake to overlook all that we accomplished in the past twelve months. It was, in fact, a year of important successes for CRPF and the more than 400,000 Americans living with paralysis. For example: * We witnessed the miraculous recovery of Adam Taliaferro, a Penn State football player. Injured during a game in September 2000, Adam's doctors feared he would be a quadriplegic. But thanks to revolutionary new treatments and therapies, Adam is walking, running and jumping again today. He is an inspiration to everyone who shares the dream of walking again. * We received a $2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to build America's most comprehensive clearinghouse for paralysis. The staff and resources of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center will provide the information that people living with paralysis, and their caregivers, need to cope with all the complex issues that arise. * President Bush announced that federally funded stem cell research could continue, although to a limited extent. CRPF is aggressively pursuing other technologies, such as nucleus transplantation in order to develop the most effective therapies as quickly as possible. * This year's "A Magical Evening," our annual black tie fundraiser, raised more than $3.5 million for our spinal cord injury research programs. We made some important strides this year. Now we need to extend our momentum into 2002. And that's where you come in. Your holiday gift to CRPF will make a critical difference in our efforts to find cures and treatments for paralysis. And your contribution will further our programs to increase opportunities and access for people living with spinal cord injuries. Just click on the Donate Now button above to give today. Thank you for your support. And all the best to you and yours this holiday season, Christopher Reeve"
- December 21, 2001: According to their press release, California State University in Fullerton will welcome Christopher Reeve to its seventh annual Front & Center gala on February 2nd at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. Bob Newhart will emcee the evening, which also will honor Henry Nicholas III, president and CEO of Broadcom Corp., with the Orange County Titan Award. Front & Center spotlights Cal State Fullerton's impact upon and partnerships with the Orange County community. Proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships and programs. In musical tributes to the evening's special guests, Titan alumna Dana Meller - currently on Broadway in Les Miserables - will perform with the university's award-winning students from the Theatre and Dance department.
- December 23, 2001: During the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Torch Relay, Christopher Reeve carried the Olympic Flame from the Brooklyn Museum of Art on Eastern Parkway to the intersection of Eastern Parkway and Washington. The torch will visit 46 states before arriving in Salt Lake City in time for the February 8, 2002 Opening Ceremonies of the XIX Winter Games.
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