14 January 2012

Keeping a cure for spinal cord injury in the media

I would like to thank you all of your for responding to my call for letters to the Chronicle Journal regarding their story about the Rick Hansen Relay.

In today's edition my letter was published and I will send another letter asking that they follow up on the story of the Rick Hansen Foundation's spending (or lack of spending) on funding for translational research on central nervous system regeneration, i.e., a cure for spinal cord injury.

We're starting to see the results of all asking and demanding together.

I will also follow up with them to see if they are interested in writing a story about a cure for spinal cord injury and why the Rick Hansen Foundation should be funding this.
Published in the Chronicle Journal 'Letters to the Editor'

Spinal cord research

Friday, January 13, 2012
Thank you for your story regarding the Rick Hansen Relay (Rick Hansen Still Makes a Difference —CJ, Jan. 9). Hansen has done a lot to promote accessibility and acceptance for those of us living with spinal cord injury and paralysis.
As you may know, regeneration of the central nervous system (CNS), i.e. a cure for spinal cord injury, is very clearly on the horizon. A cure is one of Hansen’s stated goals.
Researchers from all over the world are working towards this goal and animal studies clearly show that the spinal cord can be regenerated, meaning that the paralyzed may someday walk again. One of the things that is holding this bold effort back is funding for research, specifically clinical trials.
As your article mentions, $245 million has been raised by Rick Hansen in the past 25 years and more money is being raised by this relay across Canada. This makes the Rick Hansen Foundation one of the biggest, most well-financed foundations dealing with spinal cord injury in the world.
Concerned about the lack of any specific mention regarding research funding for CNS regeneration, almost 300 people have written to the Rick Hansen Foundation asking for information about its spending in this area. Sadly, there has never been a clear answer to this question.
While I wish Rick Hansen success in this relay, I also ask that funding for CNS regeneration become the priority that he says it is.
Dennis Tesolat
(originally from Woodstock, Ont.)
Osaka, Japan

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