Peter T. Wilderotter, president of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, says the plan also was crucial because it kept the organization in the public eye and gave it the chance to dispel any worries about its future.
Dana Reeve stepped up and became the face of the foundation and symbolized its determination to carry on. Six months after Christopher Reeve’s death, CRPF began working on rebranding itself. It looked hard at its logo and slogan, analyzing what people internally and externally thought about the foundation and its programs. For starters, it changed its name from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation back to the Christopher Reeve Foundation to move away from the potential negative connotation of the word “paralysis” and to reflect the fact that Reeve’s reach far exceeded the spinal cord injury community.
It also came up with a new logo and a new slogan, “Go Forward,” inspired by what Reeve once said when posed the question about what would happen to the foundation if he decided not to lead it anymore or something happened to him: He said he would assume that the work would go forward.
Early on after Reeve’s injury, he and Dana carved out separate roles for themselves — Dana as caregiver focused on quality of life, and Chris as visionary focused on cure.
“They were sort of symbolic of the struggle that one goes through when they’re spinal cord-injured where you have one person wholly focused on finding cures, which is what our research program was really geared toward. And Chris was admittedly a man in a hurry toward getting toward that,” Wilderotter says. “And on the other side, you had Dana — sort of the caregiver — who really was deeply concerned about Chris’ quality of life and how he lived his life almost on a day-to-day basis.”