This is where the staff of the Reeve Foundation is sharing up-to-the-minute information and putting some context around the news affecting the spinal cord injury and paralysis community. Not to mention insight into what's going on here at the Foundation.
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What an incredible day for the paralysis community! It was such an achievement to gather so many members of our community together to commemorate the historic 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA photo by Gil Garcetti.)
On behalf of the Reeve Foundation, we want to thank everyone who joined us yesterday. It was a VERY early morning for most of the attendees and we appreciate your efforts to help us break the Guinness world record. Special thanks to our friends in the Los Angeles disability community who helped recruit their members and constituents and kudos to our ambassadors who turned out en masse to participate.
The day began bright and early in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, with the iconic stadium sign right behind us. After a few welcomes and introductions, Reeve Foundation ambassador Ali Stroker (pictured) began the program belting out the National Anthem like only Ali could. Gary Karp, whose list of distinctions is too long to list, served as emcee and demonstrated his impressive juggling skills. We were also joined by Josh Rawitch, VP of Communications for the LA Dodgers, Mark Ridley Thomas, LA County Supervisor, Mayra Fornos, founder of Ralph’s Riders and David Geffen, ADA lawyer.
The entertainment highlight of the program was Auti Angel and her Chairlie’s Angels, who performed a moving, get the crowd going dance routine. Our own Angela Rockwood Nguyen was part of the dance troupe!
But that was just the start! After the crowd of 194 people formed the letters ADA, they quickly assembled into a moving line when we officially broke the Guinness World Record.
While many of the attendees hailed from the greater Los Angeles area, we had friends from San Diego and Orange County as well. But I was most moved by a family who drove 800 miles from northern Mexico to join the festivities. Martin Gonzalez was spinal cord injured four years ago in a car accident at the C5 level. Martin received no therapy and his chair was not even fitted with a proper seat cushion. However, even after the 800 miles drive, Martin and his parents were all smiles to be a part of the day’s festivities and anxious to get involved.
Thanks again to everyone who helped spread the word and took time out of their weekends to help make history.
See some of the photos. Here is some video. More to come.
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation