I believe he is walking again

By By L.J. Lither and By L.J. Lither

By L.J. Lither

Early Sunday night, America lost a hero.

Christopher Reeve passed away late Sunday afternoon because of complications from an infection caused by a bedsore. Reeve gained fame for playing the role of Superman in 1978. He was so good in the role that producers brought him back for the second, third and fourth films in 1981, 1983 and 1987. For many of us, Reeve portrayed the essence of Superman. It wasn’t that he was the most brilliant actor of this century, but he became a symbol of all the good that Superman stood for. He was also a symbol of strength.

In May of 1995, his life was forever changed. A horseback riding accident left him a quadriplegic.

I remember thinking how easily we can all break. An early childhood hero had become paralyzed-and not from doing dangerous stunts or a car accident. All this man did was ride a horse, which forever changed his life. His life had now become his nightmare. In almost the blink of an eye, Christopher Reeve went from being a Hollywood actor and an American hero to a quadriplegic, working to find the desire to live.

He found it within the love he shared for his family, his wife and three children. He found the will to live and more.

Before the accident, Reeve acted the part of Superman; after the accident, he became Superman.

As a symbol of hope and an icon for Americans with spinal cord injuries, he inspired millions of people affected by paralyzing injuries and their families, too.

Reeve survived his personal tragedy and became an advocate for the American Paralysis Association. He believed he could accomplish anything. He believed he would walk again. In the 13 years prior to Reeve’s injury, the American Paralysis Association funded $10 million in research. It has invested $40 million since 1995 with the help of their newest spokesman.

In Reeve’s “can do” attitude, people with spinal cord injuries had a spokesman who would stop at nothing to achieve the symbiosis of science, celebrity and politics needed to obtain research funding.

Reeve began acting again with the 1998 remake of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” His most recent appearance was on “Smallville,” the new WB version of “Superman.”

There was one last hurdle he so desperately wanted to overcome someday: the ability to walk again.

After experimental surgery in 2000, he was able to move an index finger and that gave him additional motivation to work even harder at his physical therapy. Stem cell research gave him another source of hope.

Christopher Reeve achieved so much in his life. He was an accomplished actor, father of three, husband, director and American icon.

He will be missed by many and always remembered. He worked so hard. I am sure, with his passing, that he is walking again.

For more information about this modern-day hero, visit www.christopherreeve.org

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