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Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Applauds Senate Passage of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act
Date:1/15/2009

Landmark Legislation Will Promote Collaborative Research, Rehabilitation and Quality of Life Initiatives for Millions Living with Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injuries

SHORT HILLS, N.J., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the national, non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures and treatments for spinal cord injuries and improving the lives of people living with paralysis, applauds the United States Senate for passing the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act (CDRPA). The legislation was included as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act which the Senate passed today by a vote of 73-21. The act was named for the late actor Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana, whose courage and grace in the face of adversity, coupled with their extraordinary activism, were an inspiration to millions around the world.

"The Senate passage of the first national public health bill to directly address paralysis is a landmark in the fight to develop cures and improve the quality of life for those living with paralysis," said Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO, Reeve Foundation. "Advancements are made every day in spinal cord injury research, but the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act will speed progress and make research efforts more efficient."

"Today's vote in the Senate is a sign that Congress is serious about accelerating the discovery of better treatments and improving the daily lives of those living with paralysis," said Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). "I started working with Christopher and Dana on this issue 10 years ago, and even though they are no longer with us, there are millions of other Americans who will benefit from their hard work and perseverance. I am very happy this legislation passed the Senate and look forward to its swift passage in the House."

Wilderotter continued, "On behalf of the Reeve Foundation and millions of Americans living with paralysis, I would like to thank Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA) for initially sponsoring this important health bill and for their tireless efforts." Wilderotter added, "Also, I would like to express our appreciation to Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) for including the Reeve Act in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act and for his dedicated support of the paralysis community. Senator Tom Harkin should also be commended for his extraordinary leadership on this historic legislation. In addition, we express our appreciation to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) for their resolve to bring this bill before the Senate.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act will improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis and mobility impairments from any cause -- stroke, ALS, spinal cord injuries and others. It encourages coordination of research to prevent redundancies and hasten discovery of better treatments and cures, as well as to improve the daily lives for those living with paralysis. The Act has three components that support and enhance paralysis research, rehabilitation, and quality of life programs:

  • Paralysis Research -- Expands research on paralysis at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This will encourage collaborative research by connecting scientists conducting similar work to further enhance understanding and speed discovery of better treatments and cures.
  • Paralysis Rehabilitation and Care -- Builds on research to enhance daily function for people with paralysis, including a Clinical Trials Network, to measure effectiveness of certain rehabilitation tactics and encouraging shared findings on paralysis to improve rehabilitation.
  • Improving Quality of Life for Persons with Paralysis and Other Physical Disabilities -- Works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve the quality of life and long-term health status of persons with paralysis and other physical disabilities.

About the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

The Christopher and 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 through grants, information and advocacy. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-225-0292.


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SOURCE The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
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