Jerusalem, July 28, 2003
Christopher Reeve arrives in Israel
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Christopher Reeve, actor, advocate and chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF), will visit Israel from July 28 through August 1 as the guest of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
In the course of his visit, he will meet with Israel President Moshe Katsav, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Tourism Minister Binyamin Elon.
Reeve is traveling to Israel to learn about research on treatments for spinal injuries and to visit with people living with disabilities in the region.
Christopher Reeve meets with Elad Wassa, who survived the May 19, 2002 terrorist attack in Netanya. (July 29)
Christopher Reeve meets with Steven Averbach, a survivor of a recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem, at Sheba - Tel Hashomer Hospital. (July 29)
Christopher Reeve meets with Prof. Michal Schwartz, of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, who is conducting unique clinical trials, with FDA approval, at Sheba's Neurological Rehabilitation Department on autologous activated macrophages for the repair of acute traumatic spinal
cord injuries. (July 29)
At the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Christopher Reeve said in memory of those who perished, "In honor of those who are remembered here, we pray for an end to intolerance in the world." His son Matthew entered his words in the Yad Vashem Visitors Book. (July 30)
Christopher Reeve at the
Western Wall in
Jerusalem. (July 30)
Reeve, who was seriously injured in an equestrian competition in 1995, has become a prominent advocate in search of treatments and a cure for paralysis. In the course of the visit, organized by the Israel ministries of foreign affairs and tourism, he plans to meet with doctors and researchers who have been working on remedies for paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and other central nervous systems disorders. Reeve will also meet people from the region who are living with disabilities and their caregivers to better understand care in this part of the world.
"I am looking forward to visiting Israel to learn more about their cutting edge paralysis research as well as their approaches to addressing the quality of life of those living with paralysis," said Reeve. "Israel is the center of some of the world's leading research related to paralysis. There are many new therapies in the pipeline as well as care strategies being employed that may also benefit millions of people around the world living with paralysis. This includes therapies derived from stem cell research."
View video of Christopher Reeve speaking at the Weizmann Institute of his visit to Israel (July 29).
Reeve's four-day trip will consist of visits to hospitals, centers for children with diseases and disabilities, and some of the leading centers that have been at the forefront of worldwide advances in spinal cord research. At each location he visits, Reeve will meet with scientists and patients to learn more about the progress being made to find effective treatments for debilitating injuries. Reeve said that he "has been very interested in the projects Israel's researchers have been working on in recent years."
While in Israel, Reeve will meet with Elad Wassa, a 25-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia who was paralyzed in a terrorist attack on May 19, 2002. Wassa wrote to Reeve saying that Reeve provided him hope and inspiration. He is paralyzed from the chest down and is undergoing rehabilitation in a hospital in Tel Aviv. Wassa's letter, combined with Israeli research, the hope Reeve could bring to many Israelis dealing with spinal cord injuries and the fact that he had the time in his often hectic speaking schedule, created the ideal circumstances for Reeve to visit Israel.
Christopher Reeve sums up his four-day visit in Israel: "Caregivers and scientists are all working with a sense of urgency."