Christopher Reeve – The Real Life Superman

christopherSo many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. -Christopher D'Olier Reeve

 Not only was Christopher Reeve an actor with indomitable force of will, but he was also an incredibly kind person. And it was because of his compassion and love for others that he did so many charitable things: he helped found an actors’ organization, as well as the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. He even advocated in favor of stem cell research before a Senate Committee. His compassion for others, especially for those who were grappling with similar conditions, seemed to be limitless.

 Christopher D'Olier Reeve was born in New York in autumn 1952. Following his parents’ divorce when he was four, Reeve lived with his mother and brother in New Jersey, where he grew up. He started working for the theater at the young age of ten.

 He continued acting throughout his adolescence, both at his high school and as a professional actor. Indeed, he was so skilful that, by the time he was sixteen, he belonged to the Actors' Equity Association and had an agent. Having graduated in 1970, he enrolled at Cornell University, where he got a degree in music theory and English, as well as at graduate school at Juilliard. He also worked as a backstage observer in London and Paris.

 After school, he acted in Love of Life, a soap opera, for two years. During this time, he also performed in productions of New York theater companies. He took on a small role in Gray Lady Down in 1978. However, he became truly well-known when he starred in Superman in 1978. It was so popular that Reeve starred in four of its sequels. He helps write the final movie. He also acted in Noises Off in 1992 and Morning Glory in 1994.

 In 1995, Reeve fell off a horse he was riding, and developed paralysis from his neck down. Two of the vertebrae in his upper spine were badly damaged. He also needed to start using a respirator. He became involved in campaigns that supported people who had paraplegia, including children. In 1998, he established the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation; its mandate is to encourage scientific research dealing with spinal cord injuries. In 1998, before a Senate Committee, he advocated for the federal government to pay for stem cell research.

christopher1He had to adapt a lot to his new situation. He had lost most of his mobility, and had to learn to talk in between the breaths of his ventilator. He controlled his specialized wheelchair by blowing air into a device. He exercised regularly, trying to develop his strength.

 His injuries and his hard work did not stop him from acting in films. He appeared in 1998’s Rear Window, In the Gloaming, and The Brooke Ellison Story. His autobiography, Still Me, was released in 1998.

 Unfortunately, Reeve died of cardiac arrest in 2004. However, he has remained an inspiration to thousands of people throughout all this time. Moreover, Reeve’s story can teach us a lot about compassion, kindness, and caring for others. Throughout his life, Reeve had to undergo countless physical and mental challenges, but he never stopped what he loved—whether that was acting or working for charity. All in all, thanks to his incredible kindness, Christopher Reeve never stopped working hard so that others could live a better life; we can learn a lot from his efforts.

 Affirmation for today:

As my sympathy and compassion get stronger, my own life becomes more fulfilling.

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