Dana Reeve to Attend State of the Union As Langevin's Guest

Feb 1, 2005

(Washington, D.C.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today announced that Dana Reeve, Chair of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, will be his guest for the President's State of the Union Address tomorrow evening.

Dana Reeve, the wife of the late Christopher Reeve, is a founding board member and leader of the Foundation's Quality of Life Grant program which, under her leadership, has granted over $6 million since its inception and which was recognized for excellence by the Federal government. In 2003 she realized her goal of opening the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, which serves the paralyzed community as a clearinghouse for information and support.

"It is truly an honor to be present as the President outlines his agenda before the nation," said Mrs. Reeve. "I look forward to learning what plans he has to further scientific research and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans living with paralysis and other debilitating conditions. Congressman Langevin has been an key partner in the Foundation's efforts to increase the potential of and support for medical research. His work in Congress offers hope and the promise of a brighter future to millions of Americans."

"The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation has been a driving force for research to develop treatments and cures for paralysis,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “The passing of Christopher Reeve will not mark the end these efforts, in particular the movement to ease the restrictions on stem cell research. Rather, this tragedy must result in a renewed effort to provide hope for millions of Americans suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes, cancer and even spinal cord injuries. "The President's 2001 policy allowed NIH very limited resources for this type of research. In the past three years, the scientific community has made it clear that in order to continue their life-saving work, an expansion of this policy is critical. I am hopeful that continued pressure, coupled with a greater understanding of the facts, will convince the President of the importance of stem cell research."

During this session of Congress, Langevin will join with his colleagues to re-introduce the bipartisan Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would direct the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health to fund research on stem cell lines derived after August 9, 2001. The bill would allow only those excess embryonic stem cells derived from in-vitro fertilization and slated for destruction to be used for research. Government oversight would ensure ethical research procedures.

Langevin also looks forward to joining a strong bi-partisan group of Members of Congress early this year to re-introduce the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act, which would enhance and further research into paralysis, improving rehabilitation and the quality of life for persons living with paralysis and other physical disabilities.

Langevin has been a strong proponent of increasing government funding and expanding the number of embryonic stem cell lines available for research beyond the limits set by President Bush in August of 2001. He has written to the President on multiple occasions to urge him to reconsider current restrictions, testified before a Senate Committee in favor of funding for the research, and appeared on NBC's Meet the Press in August of 2001 to argue for expanded research and increased federal oversight to address ethical concerns.

At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Langevin was afforded a prime-time speaking role to introduce Ron Reagan, Jr., who spoke of the importance of stem cell research. His father, President Reagan, passed away due to complications from Alzheimer's disease in June of 2004.

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