Producing Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour has been one of the great highlights of both my career and my life. There is an entire chapter in Bringing Back The Old Hollywood that details that experience so today I am focused much more on the towering and courageous human legacy of Christopher Reeve himself.
After Chris’s tragic accident, he dedicated his life and all his resources to finding a way to heal the kind of catastrophic spinal injury that he himself suffered. He was utterly convinced that he would someday walk again and that others would quite literally follow in his footsteps.
Sadly, Chris died before he could take those first steps but, by founding the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, he made sure that his dream would remain alive for others with catastrophic spinal injuries. Anyone who knew Chris after his accident saw how passionate he was about using every resource and contact at his disposal to somehow find a “cure.”
“Press Coverage of Epidural Stimulator Breakthough
On Thursday, May 19, 2011, the Lancet published a paper about research funded by the Reeve Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. The headline being: paraplegic man stands, steps with assistance and moves his legs after a voluntarily regimen of epidural spinal cord stimulation plus extensive locomotor training.”
Yes, that’s correct. As a direct result of funds from Chris’ Foundation and his dream, Rob Summers has been able to stand and take physical steps.
I knew Chris well during the Somewhere in Time experience. Over the years after Somewhere in Time, we kept in touch from time to time and even discussed the possibility of me producing a film he would direct. After his accident, we connected again and actually identified a project that we wanted to do together. All this is explained in detail in Chapter 9 of my book.
What struck so much about Chris after his accident was not only his personal courage and passion but his single-minded dedication to helping all those who had suffered, and would suffer, catastrophic spinal injuries. It was quite simply his mission in life to manifest a breakthrough in that field and his Foundation’s participation in pioneering epidural spinal cord stimulation is the latest result of Chris’ mission.
I have said often that the man who played Superman actually became Superman after his accident by becoming an international symbol of courage and determination.
I’m sure that the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation will continue to make miraculous breakthroughs and that somewhere Chris and Dana are smiling. I invite you to join me today in pausing for a moment to remember them with love, respect, and gratitude.