SCI research bill in MN gets a film

Whether you’re for it or against it, SCI research is here to stay. What do you think? Should the government fund spinal cord injury research, or do you think they should worry about care expenses (equipment, PCA wages)? With a proposed research bill in Minnesota this week, supporters and detractors have come out in full force (with some of the detractors being in chairs).

There aren’t many folks with SCI against government-funded research, but they do exist. On Wednesday when the bill was introduced, a quad 50 years post was there protesting. He believes the money should be used on critical services folks need instead, saying the research is a waste of time and futile (gee positive much?). He works with PWD who are struggling. He’s on the frontlines everyday and has a different perspective, but is he right?

The bill proposes that $4 million each year would be funneled to SCI research that’s happening at the University of Minnesota (under the management of Dr. Ann Parr, focusing on regenerating myelin) and the money would come from reinstatement fees drivers have to pay to get their license back after reckless driving charges. Sounds good right? And no money would be taken away from state services, yet still he protested.

This man is a stalwart of a bygone era. He’s figured out to move on really well post-injury – forget your old body, focus of the now, and you know, folks like him will never happen again. Anyone injured today and years ahead of today will have a reason to hope. Rehab specialists and nurses no longer need to tell us to “Buck up and face reality.” The research today really is cause for hope.

California and New Jersey have passed similar bills to fund this SCI research, and the hope is that Minnesota will be next. And the really exciting thing? A documentary has been made to shine a spotlight on the bill. It was made by Matthew Roderick, a man who’s never made a movie before but felt compelled to do so when his son Gabe, now a 20 year old musician, was injured.

The film is called “Chris Kluwe Rolls a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes.” Chris Kluwe is a kicker for the MN Vikings and spent a day in a wheelchair to see what living with a SCI is like. And the film came together amazingly. Watch a clip here

Myself and Rob, a C3 quad, are also featured in the film (talking about our own perspectives) and last night was the film’s premiere. It was SO great to see my city motivated to find a cure. The film is about 20 minutes long and it’s one of the best documentaries made yet on the SCI research subject.

But….a part of me keeps thinking about the quad of 50 years protesting the bill. Conflicted, confused, a strange mix of emotions for sure. All any of us want is to make our lives easier, our bodies healthier, so we can live our lives longer. Public funding any research bill can shave years off of the waiting time.

What do you feel is right? Should states fun SCI research? What do you think of the film?

- Watch a clip of the film

- Learn more about the bill

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