Stepping forward in fight against spinal cord injuries

On behalf of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC posted in Spinal Cord Injuries on Monday, December 17, 2012

Auto accidents, falls, workplace mishaps: all are events in which people can sustain a devastating spinal cord injury.

We recently came across the story of two men — best friends in high school — and two such personal disasters.

One of the men was in a car accident in 1985 when he was just 18. His back was broken in the crash and he was paralyzed as a result.

The other man became his caregiver after that. He also organized a fundraiser to benefit his friend.

Less than two months after the fundraiser, he sustained a spinal cord injury himself. His occurred while swimming in the ocean. But the result was much the same as it was for his friend: paralysis of the legs.

He was just 21 when he lost the use of his legs. Today, 25 years later, he has pledged to rise $250,000 for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation; $10,000 for each year he’s been paralyzed.

The Reeve Foundation is named for actor Christopher Reeve — who sustained a spinal cord injury in a horse-riding accident — and his wife.

The foundation raises money for research on how improve the quality of the lives of the estimated 5.6 million Americans living with paralysis, and to help find a way to enable all of those who suffer spinal cord injuries to someday walk again.

Today, with advances in technology and understanding of the spinal cord, some activity-based exercises and training can help some with the injuries to stand and step again, a spokesperson for the foundation said.

With more funding and more study, it’s hoped that researchers will build an array of effective approaches, from retraining the spinal cord, to surgeries, implants, exoskeleton devices and more, that will allow the injured to resume their lives.

Source: “Best Friends Paralyzed Little More Than Two Years Apart,” Dec. 13, 2012