On June 6th, 2004 hundreds of people on a mission will converge upon the World Financial Center Winter Garden in downtown Manhattan. They are coming from many different places and from all walks of life. Only, many of these people cannot walk because they have been paralyzed with spinal cord injuries.
They are coming to “Rally for the Cure,” an event to raise money for spinal cord research. Christopher Reeve is scheduled to attend as their honored “Hero of Hope,” joined by other celebrities who believe that although fate may have temporarily restrained those with spinal cord injuries, science holds the key that will set them free.
Rally for the Cure is a grassroots event organized by those with injuries, their family members, friends and supporters. Their first group fundraiser was held in 1998 at the same location and raised 1.7 million dollars in a single evening, setting a new record. Today, they have more members and a website (www.rallyforthecure.org), where people can get detailed information about the event.
The money raised will go to The Spinal Cord Injury Project at Rutgers University. This world-class research center, headed by Dr. Wise Young, is focused on finding practical breakthroughs, and expediting progress through collaboration with other research centers. It is estimated that there are over 1,000,000 people in the world with spinal cord injuries, 250,000 of them in the U.S., with over 11,000 new cases each year.
It is especially meaningful that this year?s fundraiser is returning to the Winter Garden, which was almost destroyed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The Winter Garden withstood a terrible tragedy, was repaired with care and passionate commitment, and now stands again in its original splendor. Those coming on June 6th believe that the same fate awaits people in wheelchairs.