Christopher Reeve's daughter Alexandra says her parents' foundation has helped paralyzed people stand and take steps again
Christopher Reeve's daughter Alexandra Reeve Givens says that her father's Foundation and its charity work has helped develop research into a new technique that has assisted the recovery of paralyzed people. Alexandra works with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation that has been named after her late parents.
She revealed that the 'Superman' star's name has managed to raise $138 million for scientific research. The mother-of-two further shared that the funds meant for the treatment of spinal cord injuries, like the one that affected her father, have paid for trials into advancing cures, according to Daily Mail.
"There are new techniques called epidural stimulation, which submits electronic stimulation to people's spinal cord as they're undergoing physical therapy," she told Fox News. "The promise of this is really amazing. For the first time, we are seeing people regain motor function. Some people are standing, and some people are even taking steps."
Alexandra said the 1978 'Superman: The Movie' star, who hit his head in a 1995 horse riding fall, worked hard to make sure his children led a normal life, and on the side helped others even after his injury. She also shared that it was an achievement to get the FDA approval for the treatment after her father had enthusiastically dreamed about the possibility.
She said, "He could call up researchers and ask to go see them in the lab, and see what they were doing… And he would listen to them speak for a half hour about their research and then say, 'That all sounds great. When is it going to help me?' Suddenly adding that force, adding that timeline, saying, 'I am somebody here right now who could benefit from your work' — That urgency was really powerful."
Alexandra also recalled how they had to get involved in the research the actor was doing to cope with life as a paralyzed man, and that, just a couple of months after the accident, he was reading all he could as fast as possible.
"He would have these huge tomes on the spinal cord and the latest research. And they actually got so heavy he would have us hold them up for him so he could read them," she recalled. "And we ended up lobbying him to get a music stand so we could put the book down and just sit next to him and turn the pages without actually having to carry the book."
Alexandra also explained how the festive season remains to be one of the most poignant ways the family remembers life after her father became paralyzed.
"On Christmas morning every year after his accident, he would start his morning routine at 4 am just so that he could be in the living room waiting at 7 am when he knew that my little brother would be coming downstairs…" she said. "When I think about that, the effort that it used to take for him to get out of bed, to do that whole routine, but knowing that he wanted to have the same traditions that we had before his accident — I think that's really telling."
"I have a very strong memory when I was probably four or five years old, and I was riding a bike with him in Central Park, and obviously still needed his support as I was figuring out how to do it," she explained, while recalling how her wheelchair-bound father was so willing to help others that he accidentally abandoned her once.
"A big crowd of kids rushed up and came to get his attention. I remember so clearly that he picked up his hand from holding the back of my bicycle and turned to the kids to say hi. And I thought, 'Oh dad, of all the moments to talk to kids... I get the gist, but this is the time to pay attention to me.'"