27 July 2011

Please send a question to Rick Hansen Foundations new CEO

Lately there has been a lot of debate going on in the spinal cord injured community about the commitment to a cure for spinal cord injury (SCI) of one of the biggest and most well funded global organizations dealing with SCI, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) and its offshoots the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) and International Collaboration or Repair Discoveries) ICORD.

Why there is a need for three organizations with their own premises and staff, I don't know and it's not the point of today's blog.

Basically RHF funds three areas of work; quality of life programmes, translational research into the care of people with SCI, and translational research into a cure for spinal cord injury. This is where the debate starts.

As the science for a cure comes closer within reach (see a list of global clinical trials) many believe that a big organization like RHF  should be spending more money and influence to accelerate a cure, especially since a cure for sci is one of the goals of RHF. They state their goal very clearly. "A world without paralysis after spinal cord injury".

I will be clear, I am part of the group that believes RHF could be doing more for a cure. Why do I believe this?

Looking at a list of recent scientific work being sponsored by RHI and the list of researchers and research at ICORD, I don't see that the regeneration of the central nervous system (CNS) is getting much attention.

But before I criticise I want more information on how the funds gathered by RHF are divided and more to the point, how much is spent on CNS regeneration to get us out of our chairs.

I invite you to send an email (by using the form below) to Mr. Art Reitmayer, the new CEO of RHF, congratulate him on his appointment and the 25th anniversary of Hansens's Man in Motion World Tour, and to ask a very specific question; what percentage of money is being spent by RHF directly to cure paralysis?

Don't worry if you're not Canadian. Rick Hansen has travelled the world to raise awareness about SCI and you can donate to the foundation from any country on earth. Actually, if I get an answer and I'm satisfied that a fair amount of money is being spent on cure, I'll be making a donation!

This campaign has ended
And watch for Part II
Please answer my very important question

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

Mr. Rick Hansen and Mr. Lyall Knott, Co Chairs, RHF Board of Directors
Mr. Jim Watson, Secretary, RHF Board of Directors
Mr. George Gaffney, Treasurer, RHF Board of Directors

RHF Board of Directors
Mr. Matthew Bosrock
Ms. Sally Douglas
Mr. Perry Goldsmith
Ms. Amanda Hansen
Mr. Jonathan Kallner
Mr. Tod Leiweke
Ms. Sue Paish
Mr. Peter Ufford
Ms. Christine Day

Mr. Bill Barrable, CEO, Rick Hansen Institute,
Dr. Tom Oxland, Interim Director, ICORD

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, perserverence 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.


  1. OK Dennis, a sensible and worthy question.

  2. Hi For year's I have been interested in stem cells and science SCI
    I broke my back / neck 2 X and feel there is so much to life