As a true empath Christopher Reeve did not allow his paralysis to stagnate him, but rather used his condition as a means to inspire change. Through vigorous lobbying on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, Reeve aided in doubling the NIH budget in five years. He testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies encouraging them to federally fund the field of stem cell research. He managed to secure both private and public funding for the continued research of ailments such as Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, and spinal cord injuries.
In 2001, Reeve was elected to serve on the board of directors for the company TechHealth, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, which provided products and services for severely injured patients. While serving on the TechHealth board, Reeve participated in board meetings and advised the company on strategic direction. He refused compensation. He even made phone calls to the company’s catastrophically injured patients to cheer them up.
Reeve visited Israel in July 2003 to learn more about the research that they were conducting on spinal cord injuries. He was invited by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek out the best treatment for his condition. During his visit, Reeve called the experience “a privilege” and said, “Israel has very proactive rehab facilities, excellent medical schools and teaching hospitals, and an absolutely first-rate research infrastructure.” Throughout his intensive tour, Reeve visited Sheba Medical Center, ALYN Hospital , Weizmann Institute of Science, and Israel Institute of Technology, among many other places.
After meeting dozens of Israeli patients who had undergone groundbreaking recovery processes and made remarkable progress Reeve was in awe. He explained, “The research progresses more rapidly in Israel than almost anywhere else I can think of. The decision they made about stem cells, where they had a debate and decided that secular law must prevail over religious teachings, is something that we need to learn in the United States.” Less than one month after his passing, Proposition 71 was approved, which allocated $3 billion in funding to stem cell research. His legacy continues to make a lasting impact