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PRIDE program receives grant from Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

RELEASED: March 24, 2011

Dr. Marquell Johnson
Dr. Marquell Johnson,
UW-Eau Claire
PRIDE program director

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently received a $4,200 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 74 grants totaling almost $500,000 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide to provide opportunities, access and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis and their families and caregivers.

The Physical activity and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities in the Eau Claire area program at UW-Eau Claire serves children with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. The goal of the PRIDE program is to help children learn that their disability does not have to limit them from participating in physical activity. Grant funds will be used to purchase two sport model wheelchairs.

"These new wheelchairs are just one part of the life-changing experience that the PRIDE program works to provide. They are a tool, helping children with disabilities participate more fully and develop self-esteem and self-identity," said Dr. Marquell Johnson, assistant professor of kinesiology and director of the PRIDE program.

Kim Way, executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, finds donors like the Reeve Foundation inspiring and motivating.

"This type of gift allows us to constantly move toward greater levels of excellence and fulfill our goal to serve both the university and the greater Eau Claire community," Way said.

"The Quality of Life grants program Dana envisioned 12 years ago reflects what she always believed in," said Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. "People living with paralysis have a right to a life with dignity and empowerment. The organizations awarded these grants provide just that to these individuals, their families and caregivers."

The Reeve Foundation's Quality of Life grants are divided into three categories: Actively Achieving, Bridging Barriers, and Caring and Coping. Some Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #1U59DD000338). These grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that address the needs of people living with paralysis caused by spinal cord and other injuries, diseases and birth conditions. Since the program was developed in 1999 by the late Dana Reeve, more than 1,800 grants have been awarded, totaling over $14.2 million. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

More information, including the list of Quality of Life grant recipients, is available on the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation website or by calling 800-225-0292 or sending e-mail to media@ChristopherReeve.org.

The UW-Eau Claire PRIDE program serves children ages 5-16 with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities by providing them with one-on-one and group instruction in the areas of skill development, fitness and sport/recreational activities. For more information, contact program director Dr. Marquell Johnson at 715-836-3948 or johnmarq@uwec.edu or visit the PRIDE website.

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RD/DW

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