31 July 2011

Can't get a straight answer from Rick Hansen Foundation!

This week, paralyzed people from around the world sent a real simple request for information to Mr. Art Reitmayer, the CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF). “I would like to ask you to provide me with the percentage of funds being spent by RHF on CNS regeneration and a cure for SCI.

We got an answer to something, but not to our question.

The Question
The Answer
To: Mr. Art Reitmayer, CEO, Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF)

On the 25th anniversary of Rick's heroic journey to cure paralysis I would like to congratulate you on your recent appointment as CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. If Rick believed, twenty five years ago, that a cure for paralysis was possible, RHF should feel that a cure is now an inevitability in light of recent scientific progress.

As a person concerned about spinal cord injury (SCI) I believe that the appointment of a new CEO at such an important juncture allows RHF to accelerate its work towards a cure. As we all know a cure will not come from hope alone but through hard work, perseverance and the support of science.

However, I am concerned that RHF may have lost some focus in the pursuit of a cure for spinal cord injury. My concern stems from information posted on both the Rick Hansen Institute and ICORD (both established and funded by RHF) websites. Looking at this information I do not see central nervous system   (CNS) regeneration as the top priority of either of these two groups.

Therefore I would like to ask you to provide me with the percentage of funds being spent by RHF on CNS regeneration and a cure for SCI.
I realize that care and quality of life work is   important for those living with SCI, but a cure that is showing itself to be within our reach is just as important and is actually the ultimate form of care/quality of life.

Thank you for reading this and I hope for an answer to my question in the very near future.

Dennis Tesolat

Dear Dennis,

Thank you for your inquiry.  We appreciate the opportunity to share further details with you about the nature of our work.

The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) focuses its efforts on improving the daily lives of people with disabilities by creating more accessible and inclusive communities, and accelerating the search for a cure for spinal cord injury (SCI).

As you know, SCI research is highly complex. The continuum of   care – from point of injury, to rehabilitation and recovery – is extensive, and requires both financial and practical support at all stages to ensure people with SCI can continue to live as productive citizens in an inclusive and accessible society.

Since 1988, RHF has generated $200M for SCI research and quality of life programs while helping to improve the prognosis for newly injured individuals, by directing funds to major research grants and charitable programs.

Among the Foundation’s commitments to a cure for SCI, is the creation of the Rick Hansen Institute <http://www.rickhanseninstitute.org/> (RHI). This independent Institute is a Canada-wide collaboration dedicated to accelerating progress towards a cure and improving the quality of life for people who live with SCI and related-disabilities. RHI invests in and supports the most promising work in SCI translational research and the adoption of best practices, including supporting experts working in the promising field of stem cell research. They are also working towards solutions to improve the day-to-day quality of life for those living with SCI, hence their short term focus on reducing the severity of secondary complications associated with SCI.

Leveraging a global network of like-minded individuals and organizations, RHI is doing everything possible within their means to help create a world without paralysis after spinal cord injury. Given their relative size and reach, and the work of others in basic and primary research around the world, their focus is on efforts to accelerate the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments and quality of life for individuals with SCI.

We hope this information clarifies the work of the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute. Together, we form one component within a very large community of organizations around the world, dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. Our long-term vision is a cure for paralysis after SCI and our continued dedication to this vision is anchored in the ongoing advances happening in the field of SCI research.

We encourage you and others interested to visit our websites at     www.rickhansen.com<http://www.rickhansen.com> and www.rickhanseninstitute.org<http://www.rickhanseninstitute.org> to learn more about how we are working towards our common goals.


The Rick Hansen Foundation and The Rick Hansen Institute

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