CHRISTOPHER REEVE GETS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD
By: Patti Strand Date: 01/27/2012
The 2003 Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service on behalf of medical research went to Christopher Reeve, the actor who was paralyzed from the neck down after a fall from his horse.
Reeve never gave up; in the years following his catastrophic injury, he fought to regain use of his body, established a foundation to fund research into paralysis, and became an advocate for scientists working in the field. The actor was recognized "for his perceptive, sustained, and heroic advocacy for medical research in general and victims of disability in particular."
Well-known for his roles in the movies Deathtrap and Superman and praised for his work on the stage, Reeve carried his work ethic through his devastating accident to become an advocate for health research. Along with his service as vice president of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Association, he is vice chairman of the National Organization on Disability, is on the board of directors of other organizations that serve disabled people, has lobbied Congress to increase budgets for biomedical research, and supported passage of state and federal bills that provide funds for spinal cord and other biomedical research.
His accident did not deter Reeve from working in the film industry. Two years after his fall, he made his directorial debut with In the Gloaming, an HBO film that was nominated for five Emmys and won several other awards. His autobiography made the New York Times best seller list and his recording of the book won a Grammy award. He produced and starred in a remake of Rear Window, the Alfred Hitchcock classic. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for this effort.
In spite of his paralysis, Reeve travels across the country giving motivational talks. A native of Princeton, New Jersey, he and his wife Dana have three children.
The Lasker Awards (www.laskerfoundation.org/index_flash.html) are considered the American Nobel Prizes. Other winners honored on September 19 were Robert G. Roeder for pioneering research into gene expression and Mark Feldman and Sir Ravinder N. Maini for clinical research into arthritis treatments.
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