There are super-men living amongst us, you can hear and read their stories of perseverance. They are the ones that stare hopeless situations in the face, and valiantly defy the odds. One of these super-men was Christopher Reeve. Sadly, his light was extinguished some time ago, but his extraordinary legacy will live on forever. After being paralyzed from the neck down after a horse-riding accident on May 27, 1995, Chris’ story of endurance and strength changed the world.
Reeve was a childhood hero of mine. He unexpectedly entered my life when I was a child and has been a large part of it since. Although I never met him, I followed his career with great appreciation and care. Yes, I treasure all my memories of him with great fondness.
Millions feel the same way about him as I do, and you can see or read their thoughts about him online anywhere his name comes up.
How he lived and how he faced the challenges that fell upon him are an inspiration to us all.
I especially love when I meet fans and friends who had the opportunity to meet him. Like Christiaan Ryder, who met Chris and his wife Dana a while back and has shared her story with us:
“I have a very deep love for acting and anything that surrounds acting so I found myself getting involved with the Williamstown Theatre Festival … but only after I found out that Mr. Reeve was appearing there. I attended the theatre many times when he was on stage but never met him at that point … little did I know that there was something very big in store for me down the road. I wanted to really join the Williamstown Theatre Festival and found out that I could become an intern with my background in acting and techs, and I did. One day, I went to see a play that Christopher’s future wife was in, and as the lights were dimming and the theatre was quieting down, this very tall person came in and walked to the top of the seating area where I was seated and proceeded to sit right next to me! I could not move or even take a peek at the man and was scared that I would disrupt the play if I did. He, on the other hand, had no problem staring at me and chuckling. That was my first encounter with Christopher Reeve!
I found a house to rent that same year and moved in. I bought a beautiful golden retriever and walked down this dirt road about three minutes away from my home. One day, I was crossing over one dirt road to another when all of a sudden this black ford truck came roaring out of nowhere, causing my dog to panic and run in that direction with me ensuing after. The truck screeched to a halt and I heard a few curse words as I walked up to the truck to yell at the driver, and I stopped short when I saw who it was and turned beet red; Christopher was on his way to the theatre for rehearsal and was late. I finally got the nerve to say, ‘Don’t you think you should slow down since you just came from a hidden road and no one would know you were there unless you beeped your horn?’ He looked at me and smiled … with that he said, “nice to see you again and I am late.” He waved good bye and yep … he took my advice and every time he came out of that road he beeped. I know that for a fact, because I always walked my dog on that road knowing that he would be on it and we could say hello and chat with me for a short time.
Dana Morosini was Christopher Reeve’s wife and unbeknown to me, her parents and my parents were very good friends. After the death of Dana, my cousin called me and told me that her parents were at my mother’s funeral. My mouth dropped to the floor, funny how things seemed to be connected. I use to talk with Dana when I saw her and never knew that we had met years ago and how our families knew one another quite well… I mentioned this only because it is in a way something that I feel was meant to be.
Lastly, I have to tell you that every day Christopher would drive by my house on his way to the theatre because I lived on the road that led to the theatre. And every time he would beep his horn until I waved at his wild waving at me. Sometimes, I would see him at the Cabaret which he would appear in when he was in a play, and we would chat about his play and his singing … *cringe* but it’s ok … he was never hired just for his singing. Another thing about him was his love for riding. I love riding and know how to ride well enough, but I saw him ride one day and had to correct his posture … his feet were not the way they should be, heels down toes up … but just the opposite … I remember telling him if he didn’t correct that, one day he just might find himself on the ground. I won’t ever forget that moment. In general, Christopher was a likeable person and fun. If you managed to become his friend, he was loyal to you and put up with your antics as he did with mine.”
The movie “Christopher Reeve: Hope in Motion” (embedded below) allows us to accompany this hero amongst men, through this grand journey he embarked in the last years of his life. A journey that would steer his life and many others into a world where the word “impossible” does not exist.
Here is a brief description of the film:
This intimate portrait focuses on Chris’ remarkable recovery of movement and his constant fight to fully regain his mobility. Following Chris closely over many months of treatment and public campaigning for funds for stem cell research, this film was completed shortly before his death and shows his struggle to keep his hope alive. Sadly, Chris died before his most fervent wish could come to pass. What emerges through this film is a portrait of an intelligent, determined, candid and outspoken man who was able to maintain his sense of humour in the face of adversity. His inspiring personality will shine through as you follow his unpredictable, emotional journey.
Yes, this intimate family story produced and directed by his son, Mathew Reeve, shows the behind-the-scenes story of what our wounded hero endured as he faced all the trials and challenges of overcoming paralysis. The story follows all his hard work and the month-long treatments he suffers as he attempted to try walking again and popularize stem cell research.
Unfortunately, the story does not end with all goals accomplished. We have lost our friend, but his inspiration is still alive. Christopher Reeve changed movies and science forever.
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