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Christopher Reeve began to use the international interest in his situation to increase public awareness about spinal cord injury and to raise money for research into a cure.
The first 200 words of this essay...
In May of 1995, it was during the cross-country portion of such an event in Culpeper, Virginia, that Reeve's
Throughbred, Eastern Express, balked at a rail jump, pitching his rider forward. Reeve's hands were tangled in the horse's bridle and he landed head first, fracturing the uppermost vertebrae in his spine. Reeve was instantly paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe. Prompt medical attention saved his life and delicate surgery stabilized the shattered C1-C2 vertebrae and literally reattached Reeve's head to his spine.
After 6 months at Kessler Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey, Reeve returned to his home in Bedford, New York, where Dana had begun major renovations to accomodate his needs and those of his electric wheelchair which he operates by sipping or puffing on a straw. Ironically, this most self-reliant and active of men was now facing life almost completely immobilized and dependent on others for his most basic needs. In addition, his condition puts him at constant risk for related illnesses--pneumonia, infections, blood clots, wounds that do not heal, and a dangerous condition involving blood pressure known as autonomic disreflexia--all of which Reeve would experience in the coming years.
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