...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Trying not to overbalance (part 1)
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In 1995, actor, activist and gorgeous guy Christopher Reeve sustained a massive spinal cord injury (SCI) and lived the rest of his life as a quadraplegic. He was a hero of mine because of his activism, his love of his craft and range of roles and he was six months older than me. Why did any of that matter? It didn't.

Chris Reeve spent the last nine years of his life as a ventilator/respirator dependent wheelchair user And he lived. He did not just survive but did his best as a world-famous (Superman!) actor and a rich guy to be public and open about the injury and to establish a foundation and create funding to research spinal cord injury.

After his accident in May of 1995, I took to writing to Chris and his wife Dana, letters that I have no memory of but encouraging them, remind them that they were not alone, nothing they didn't know. And lthough I had just begun using a motorized scooter and had not experience of living with the help of a power wheelchair, I still figured coming from a fan with a disability. I knew that after the first few weeks, people can forget when they don't see you.

I wrote, I think, five letters and just hoped they would be read. I never, of course, expected a response. The response I did receive was dismaying, disappointing and, well, I gotta be honest, annoying.

I received five identical solicitations from Chris and Dana for the new foundation that they were creating to research SCI and and push for more funding for faster, better, realistic ways to assist those dealing with SCIs. Five letters. Whoever put the mailing stuff together didn't even do a simple duplication check, which would have save them money. I cannot have been the only one writing often. And I would have been happier not to hear backat all if this was the alternative.

I never turned around on Chris, still celebrating his every job, every award, everything he did. I cheered when I saw him on television. And yet, and yet, and yet, I was dismayed.

Christopher Reeve swore that he would walk again. He did not do so before he died at the ridiculously youg age of 52. I was so hoping to hear that he was setting up a foundation with the goals of equal access for all, with the goals of making all theaters accessible,with accessible back stages, and ramped proscenium areas for all those award shows where folks scrambled up the highly glossed steps to accept a statue or a plaque. With captioning, interpreters, useful walkways. Like other disabled performers, he was not afforded the dignity of being just like his peers. I thought "he's so visible, and likable" and thought "he can do so much to teach people about disability."

But no, not really. Thee were points where he said stuff, but as far as I know, he never turned down an appearance in any relatively inaccessible locations. He put his effort, waning energy and money on curing spinal cord injuries and helping people walk again. And I am reluctant to say this, but that was not what Iwanted my hero to be doing. And who the hell am I to be lecturing someone who is a quad on life as a quad.

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