I'm writing to the Governor General, and I'll tell you why in a second.
24 August is the start of the Rick Hansen Relay which marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of his famous world tour to raise awareness and funds to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and to find a cure for paralysis. This relay which will transverse Canada starting in Newfoundland and ending on 22 May in Vancouver, British Columbia should also commemorate the great work that Rick Hansen has done for all of us with SCI.
But I must admit that I am disappointed by the Rick Hansen Foundation's (RHF) unwillingness to have dialogue with those living with SCI.
Many people wrote to the RHF's new CEO, Art Reitmayer, to ask for information on the foundation's spending on central nervous system (CNS) regeneration, i.e., a cure for spinal cord injury, but we didn't get an answer to the question. We did this twice hoping to get some answer and when our questions couldn't be answered, five of us even wrote asking for a skype meeting to discuss our questions 'in person'. We got an email back, but the request for dialogue was just ignored. You can see all the correspondence here.
I have to admit that at first I thought a skype meeting was a little nuts, but then I saw a lot of other groups who have real dialogue with people using today's technology. In fact, I got two such emails just this morning. Both were from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. One was for a webinar on scaffolding (like building a bridge of the lesion in the spinal cord), and the other one was for meeting the new chairman of the institute which you can do by telephone. This is dialogue and it's easy because of the great advances in telecommunications.
So, I think it's time to write to the Governor General of Canada to see if he can help us. The Governor General is the patron of the Rick Hansen Relay and maybe with his intervention the Rick Hansen Foundation can find a way to have dialogue. We don't wish to just sit, cheer, and donate. We want real dialogue leading to real information, because we all share Rick Hansen's internationalism to build 'a world without paralysis after spinal cord injury.'
A skype meeting, a real time Q&A using email, a webinar, anything that is dialogue is fine with me.
Please fill out this short email and it will be sent directly to His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
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