What a year 2015 turned out to be.
The Travis Roy Foundation set some lofty goals, most notably our desire to raise $2 million, effectively doubling our annual fundraising. Thanks to an incredible effort by both new and veteran supporters, we were able to achieve this goal. To put this in perspective, it took the first ten years of the TRF’s existence to raise $2 million. It is an exciting time for both the TRF, and for the state of spinal cord research.
Finally… Finally we are seeing therapies not only move out of the lab and into clinical trials, but we are also seeing positive results within these trials. Last year the TRF provided a five-year grant to fund the “Big Idea” – a clinical trial initiated by the Christopher Reeve Foundation. All four of the first participants have experienced some degree of functional mobility. To an SCI survivor, ANY improvement is HUGE.
In the last year, my private thoughts on the state of research have transitioned from open ended hope, to now believing it is only a matter of time before there will be therapies that benefit people like me. Some of these initial recovery advancements may not be pretty, and will certainly require a great deal of physical therapy, but, I assure you, none of us will not complain.
In the next 20 years, and hopefully sooner, those of us who can’t move our limbs, will finally find ourselves living a life with what I call, “functional independence”. For me, functional independence means that I might still need my wheelchair and the help of some assistive devices, but I will be able to care for myself without the need for 24-7 care attendants. I could live independently! As excited as I am for what this would mean to me personally, I’m equally excited for those who do not have the proper care, and have been homebound or, tragically, confined to life in a nursing home.
It’s a relief and it’s energizing to finally feel this excitement. I’ve been waiting for twenty years. The entire paralysis community – survivors, family members and friends – have been waiting to feel this renewed hope and the energy that this hope provides. While we wait, however, I will not forget the SCI survivors who need our help today. Until functional independence is a reality, the TRF will continue to provide adaptive equipment grants to those in need.
I hope you will support our 2016 Annual Appeal. The research the TRF supports and the adaptive grants we provide depend on your generosity.
Thank you for your time.