Last night, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation hosted their annual event called “A Magical Evening”, taking place at the gorgeous Cipriani’s on Wall Street. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. Stars galore came out to show their support for this wonderful foundation and the heroic men and women that they honored.
Actor and all around good guy Jerry O’Connell played host to the event last night, his first ever in doing so. His inspiration to host this event came from his friendship with Christopher’s son, Will Reeve. “I worked with Will this summer, and I really found him to be an inspiring person. He called me up a couple of weeks ago, asked if I could host, and I said “of course” without missing a beat. Will is such a special guy, that whatever they did (his parents Christopher and Dana), they did it right. I can only hope to be one tenth of the parent that they were”.
Also in attendance was legendary actress and good friend of the late Christopher and Dana, Meryl Streep. When asked why she comes back to the event year after year, she simply had this to say- “I was inspired by Christopher and his response to a set back that most of us can’t even begin to imagine. He just decided to fly over the wall the way he did. He started this organization, he merged it with the American Paralysis Foundation, he instituted enormous breakthroughs in spinal cord research, outreach to lots of different scientists. And Dana, who was as devoted to the cause as he was, did so much for the families and challenges they face. She instituted huge outreach to them. I just think they were incredibly special people.”
After the arrivals, the program began which honored several families and people who have been affected by spinal cord injuries and have barreled through to find a cure for this and stand out as a hero in this community. As they all were inspiring, the one who touched me the most in a very profound way was Denna Laing, who suffered a spinal cord injury during the first period of the 2015 Women’s Winter Classic in hockey. She was presented the award by Cam Neely and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, where Denna smiled throughout and said the reason for her always having a smile on her face simply was that “she has nothing to lose” and is grateful for all the amazing support around her.
The Reeve Children, Alexandra, Will and Matthew all took to the stage and spoke poignantly about their parents and the foundation overall. Alexandra mentioned what she thought was the biggest leap forward since last year’s event- “It is in the research, we have been making a really big push in the therapies that we have been doing, called “The Big Idea”. There are four guys who have suffered spinal cord injuries that throughout these therapies are standing again, sexual functions, bladder & bowel functions, really life changing capabilities. Our goal is to expand that to the next set of people so that we can get government approval to expand to a broader part of the population”.
Want to know how you can help get them to their goal? Check out the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation official site here.