In 1982, Henry was in the back seat of a car that struck a tree. In a moment, he was stripped of the life he imagined, one that included downhill skiing and lacrosse and upcoming college applications. At 17, he was told that not only would he never walk again, he would never be able to use his fingers, go to the bathroom unattended, dress himself.
At that time, such little research was being done on spinal cord injuries that the field was considered to be the “graveyard of neurobiology.” Henry’s father made it his personal mission to change that. He and his family mobilized friends, neighbors, scientists, bankers, and local political leaders to raise money for spinal cord research. The Stifel Paralysis Research Foundation began as a small community effort and became such a powerful force that it soon merged with the American Paralysis Foundation and is now known as the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. To date, they’ve awarded nearly $140 million to projects all over the world in an effort to pioneer new treatments for spinal cord injuries.
Thirty-eight years later, Henry is now a participant in a study he’s spent most of his life helping to develop both directly and indirectly. This blog documents that journey.