During the past four years, important New York State funding for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) have been diverted to offset the New York State budget deficit. The end result has been a loss of support for:
New cutting-edge therapies for New Yorkers with spinal cord injuries;
Funding for recruitment of spinal cord research scientists;
Training new new spinal cord injury physicians and scientists; and
New inventions and technology for spinal cord injury therapies and treatment.
SCIRP has been funded through a law that stipulates a surcharge on those convicted of moving traffic violations since 1998. The statute stipulates that the program be funded through a new surcharge on moving traffic violations. If you speed in New York State, a surcharge goes into a trust fund for spinal cord research. As moving violations account for many spinal cord injuries, this funding mechanism is appropriate and vital. Continue Reading »
Advocates seek to end state diversion of millions originally earmarked for research
ALBANY — Millions of dollars in speeding-ticket fees meant for spinal cord research are instead being funneled into the state’s general fund.
A group of researchers, patients and advocates gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday to highlight the budgetary diversion.
In 1998, under Gov. George Pataki, the state passed legislation which tacked a $5 surcharge to all moving violations to finance the Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund. This fee raises about $150 million annually, and up to $8.5 million of that was intended to assist researchers. Continue Reading »
Nobody can say Eric LeGrand never asked, “Why me?” He did. Many times.
The former Rutgers football player, who was paralyzed after a tackle during an October 2010 game, asked himself why he had a line of people waiting to visit him while so many other patients had no one. Why he was still alive when the young girl who had been in the hospital room next to him was not. Why he was lucky enough to have multiple insurance policies and a foundation to cover the expensive rehabilitation and a customized van he’d need, while other families go bankrupt, their injured son or daughter unable to get the resources they need to recover after a tragic accident.
The community of patient advocates is full of the most passionate, goal-oriented people you’ll ever meet, and Roman Reed is near the top of the list.
Reed, paralyzed in 1994 from a tackle during a Chabot College football game, has been one of the most visible advocates for stem cell research funding through the San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM. He also was a poster child for a state law passed a law in 2000 to fund spinal injury paralysis research through the state’s general fund.
But in the course of California’s budget meltdown, desperate state officials took away the spinal cord research funds. Continue Reading »
During one especially cold morning in January of last year, a disabled man who uses a wheelchair and ventilator , and his wife were heading for their office in the 100 block of South 11th Street in downtown St. Louis. They were accosted that morning by a woman, standing outside the building, smoking a cigarette.
She wanted to know why in the world a man in a wheelchair would be out in this weather. She wasn’t placated by the obvious response from the man’s companion that he, like many other St.Louisans, was simply on his way to work. It apparently didn’t occur to the woman that some severely disabled people work every day. Continue Reading »
DAYTONA BEACH – When Charles “Jay” Ayres joined the Army, he had no idea that years later, his biggest fight would be for parking spaces to get in and out of his van.
Mr. Ayres is not the only driver with disabilities who deals with the lack of ‘handicapped parking’ spots. Recognizing this, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office recently added 32 volunteers to help protect accessible parking spots for Mr. Ayres and other drivers with disabilities. Continue Reading »
clinical trial in Atlanta, Georgia, is proof that informed public debate is the key to medical advance
IF I’m honest, my first reaction to recent reports that the first human embryonic stem cell trial had begun on spinal patients in Atlanta was one of nonchalance.
Not because of its potential significance to those of us with spinal injuries — desperate for any news of progress — but because of the stop-start nature of the trial, plagued as it has been by legislative and regulatory restraints. Continue Reading »
Apps designed for SmartPhones (Blackberry, Iphone, Android) and IPads can help increase independence and improve the quality of life for people who have limited mobility from paralysis. These apps can be powerful tools for people living with a spinal cord injury or using a wheelchair due to another injury or disease. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation have created the Guide to the Best Apps for People Living with Paralysis to help people find those apps that will most enhance their lives. Continue Reading »
Katie Mathews, Jr. Miss Wheelchair Florida 2010, is on a mission to raise awareness among Florida’s teen drivers about the dangers of being distracted by cell phones while driving.
In 2006, at the age of 16, Katie was paralyzed from the chest down when the driver of the vehicle she was riding in was listening to directions on a cell phone and lost control. The vehicle flipped four times, but fortunately Katie survived. Continue Reading »