University of Virginia Medical Center (Dana Reeve)
Date: June 9, 1995
The following press statement was transcribed by Clare Aukofer, then the Director of Communications at the University of Virginia Health Science Center for the rec.equestrian newsgroup. The bracketed explanatory details are from Clare Aukofer as well, not the speakers, to help better understand the medical jargon.
Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve's wife, made the following statement at a press briefing at 10:00 AM EST
Dr. Jane will speak to you soon about Christopher's current medical condition. I am here to express Chris's and my sincere thanks to everyone who has been helping us through this very difficult time. I'd like to reiterate our thanks to the University of Virginia Medical Center and its staff -- the superior medical team, headed by Dr. Jane and Dr. Henson, the administrators, and paricularly the hard-working and committed nurses and respiratory therapists in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit]. I would like, too, to express our thanks to the press who, by and large, have handled this ordeal with care and tact. We know that Chris's accident has affected many, many people who know him personally through his work and many activities, or who feel they know him through his movies and television appearances. The respect with which the press has treated Chris and the family has been a crucial part of the healing process.
Of course everyone wants to know how Christopher is doing. Chris's spirits are for the most part quite good. He has been visiting daily with the children and other family, watching hockey on TV -- I think his spirits might be better if the Rangers were in the playoffs, but... He has already begun the first stages of physical and occupational therapy.
Much of his day is spent listening to messages from well-wishers. I can't BEGIN to express how important these are to him. Chris is a man blessed with extraordinary inner strength. He is a passionate man, committed to doing things well. I can't think of a challenge he has not met head on with frevent gusto. He is a fighter and a survivor of the first order. But this has to be the toughest challenge he has ever faced. I know it is mine.
Chris needs all the positive support he can get right now and that is why he and I are so deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and concern we have received from all over the world since his accident. He and I and the whole family are overwhelmed and truly honored by the affection and respect that have been expresssed in the thousands of cards, telegrams, letters, phone calls and faxes; the flowers, plants and baskets of food; a the generous and varied offers of assistance; the drawings and cheering thoughts of children who have written; the many books, videos, and cassettes sent by well-wishers; the poster, artwork and good luck talismans we have recieved; the prayers and special masses that are being said everywhere for his recovery.
The support and love Chris feels from the Hollywood and theatrical community means so much to him. He is honored by the good wishes sent by President and Mrs. Clinton and many others in public office around the country and the world. I know, too, that Chris is particularly heartened by the brave and thoughtful letters sent by people who have suffered similar injuries. These letters of strength, compassion, and encouragement bring much hope into our days.
In closing, I would like to convey that, as a family, we are working 'round the clock to open all the mail and share as much as possible with Chris. We are coming to realize, however, that the sheer volume of cards, letters, flowers and gifts is going to preclude our acknowledging each one individually as we would have liked to do. Please know that your messages of concern are getting through, are being read, and that they mean the world to Chris and the family. We hope that you will continue to keep Chris in your thoughts and prayers, but that you will also join us in not wanting to overburden the staff of this fine hospital. An announcement will be made sometime in the near future with regards to the possibility of sending donations in Christopher's name to aid in the research and treatment of spinal cord injuries.