Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Seeking 'Best Dad on Wheels'
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 • 5:00pm
SHORT HILLS, NJ – Christopher Reeve once said he became a better father after a horseback riding accident left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Now the foundation that bears his name is looking for other amazing dads on wheels.
In the weeks leading up to Father's Day, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is looking to honor a special man who defies the limitations of paralysis as a father and role model by launching the third annual Best Dad on Wheels contest.
Individuals can visit ChristopherReeve.org/bestdad between now and June 5 to nominate a biological, adoptive, or foster father in the United States who is living with paralysis. The nomination, which can be submitted by anybody who knows the father, must include an essay up to 200 words that demonstrates the impact he has had on his family and his community. Nominators must also submit a photo and have the option of uploading a video as well.
“One in 50 people are living with some form of paralysis,” said Peter T. Wilderotter, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation President and CEO. “This contest allows us to educate people about paralysis. Just because you live in a chair doesn’t mean you’re not a great father, a great husband, a great employee…”
Reeve, whose son, Will, was two when he was injured, taught the boy how to ride a bike even though he was wheelchair-bound.
“There’s a message of hope we’re trying to get out there,” Wilderotter said. "There are many men out there who, like Christopher, have embraced the importance of family and fatherhood in the face of great physical challenges. This is why we are once again looking to recognize a father who lives with paralysis and exhibits compassion, dedication and positivity, and honor him as the Best Dad on Wheels.”
Ten semi-finalists, who will be selected by a panel of judges, will be featured on ChristopherReeve.org for the public to review the nominations and cast their votes from June 8 through June 17. In addition to being named the 2012 Best Dad on Wheels, the winning father will receive a gift card to Tilt-A-Rack, a national supplier of mobility carriers, racks and ramps.
Eric Lantz, the winner of the 2011 Best Dad on Wheels contest, is a Houston-based father who has been living with T5 complete spinal cord injury since he was 18 years old. As an occupational therapist, Lantz, 41, applies his own personal experiences to work with his patients.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation also recently named Edna Escher-Gaston, 61, of Swarthmore, Penn., the winner of its 2012 Best Mom on Wheels contest. Escher-Gaston is a mother and grandmother who was one of the initial signers of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and a cofounder of the Barrier Awareness of Delaware County.
To nominate a father for the 2012 Best Dad on Wheels contest, entries must be submitted on www.ChristopherReeve.org/bestdad no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 5.