Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

11 November 2006

HEROES - Part Two

When a catastrophe happens it's easy to feel so sorry for yourself that you can't even see anybody around you. But the way out is through your relationships. The way out of that misery or obsession is to focus more on what your little boy needs or what your teenagers need or what other people around you need. It's very hard to do, and often you have to force yourself. But that is the answer to the dilemma of being frozen -- at least it's the answer I found. - Christopher Reeve, 2001

He had a MAJOR acting career in film and was an accomplished stage actor; he did all kinds of charitable work; he had a wife and children. He was doing a lot of good and he was making a lot of money.
Then he fell off a horse and broke his neck. In that split second, he lost everything. He had to relearn life as a quadriplegic. But Chris Reeve did not let that be the end of his story. He fought back. He forced people to give him work. His wife, his children and his friends supported his efforts. Everyone commented on how he would not quit.

Physically, he had to depend on others to do most of the work, but he was the motivating force. He's the one who did all the travelling, and made all the appearances. He constantly pushed the doctors to find solutions. He spent his money to do all this, even though he was earning next to nothing.

For a while, he couldn't even get Hollywood to give him work. But he never gave up. He worked harder. He made them give him roles; he made people take notice. Between 1996 and 2004, he narrated, directed or acted in a dozen projects, for both television and film, which garnered several award nominations, including five Emmys and a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award win for his role in the remake of Hitchcock's Rear Window. He also wrote and published two autobiographical books, both of which spent several months on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

It has been said that he did more to promote research of spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders than anyone in history.

  • He used his name to bring these issues into the public eye.
  • He gave an impassioned speech at the 1996 Academy Awards about Hollywood's duty to make movies that face the world's most important issues head-on.
  • He hosted the Paralympics in Atlanta.
  • He was elected as Chairman of the American Paralysis Association and Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability.
  • He became a lobbyist for people with spinal cord injuries and for stem cell research.
  • He founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which, to date, has given more than $65 million for research and more than $8.5 million in quality-of-life grants.
  • He co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, one of the leading spinal cord research centers in the world.
  • He founded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center. Its mission is to teach paralyzed people to live more independently.

Despite the odds, Christopher Reeve lived a fulfilling, meaningful life. On October 10 , 2004 , he died of heart failure at the age of 52. His doctor believed that it was an adverse reaction to an antibiotic that caused his death.

Since the creation of Superman in 1932, thirteen actors have taken on the role in television and film but, for me, because of all he was, and all he accomplished in his life, Christopher Reeve will always be the one and only Superman.

1 comment:

Bond said...

COCO- great post