That combination and the force of their two interests was something the newly renamed Christopher Reeve Foundation wanted to convey not only in its messaging but also in its logo, so it created a logo made up of three wavy lines alongside each other that almost look like independent flames to represent research, quality of life and the other areas important to those with spinal cord injuries.
The foundation officially launched its new brand in October 2005 to mark the first anniversary of Reeve’s death, but it was dealt another blow when Dana Reeve was diagnosed with lung cancer less than a year later and died in March 2006.
Looking back, Goldberg says it was hard to see the forest for the trees at the time. But a major donor suggested the organization change its name to include Dana and, a year after her death, it did just that and became the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
“Dana was just as much a part of this foundation as Chris. After Chris died, she became the chairman, she was head of the Quality of Life Grant Committee for years, and we really were pushing care and cure, so there was no reason not to add her name,” Goldberg says. “We felt that her role as a caregiver was equally important and represented what we do just as much as Chris’ role of cure and vision.”
After Christopher Reeve’s death the foundation recognized that, in addition to rebranding, it desperately needed to redevelop its infrastructure, which had rested pretty heavily on its founder’s shoulders. It leaned on Dana Reeve and looked to other organizations that had gone through similar situations for hope and guidance in how to move forward.
“One of the things we did was look around at other organizations that have gone through this, such as The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Susan Komen Foundation, Gilda Radnor’s Gilda’s Club and even places like the Will Rogers Institute, and the body of evidence was actually pretty strong that organizations tended to do as well and, in some cases, even better after the founder was gone,” Wilderotter says.