SON: REAL-LIFE SUPERMAN IS CHRIS REEVE
CHRISTOPHER REEVE’s son MATTHEW says real-life “battle impossible” made dad a true hero as modern hi-tech finally realizes dream.
While new “Man of Steel” flick stars Henry Cavill as something resembling the Caped Kryptonian, the late Christopher Reeve will always be Superman to his son Matthew for his never-quit battle to walk again after being paralyzed in a terrifying horse-jumping fall.
Matthew, 33, recalls that Reeve, who starred in four Superman films from 1978 to 1987, believed in the motto “Nothing is impossible” and the research into spinal injuries he pioneered is now helping others to walk again.
He noted that locomotor training – walking on a treadmill while stimulating the muscles through electrodes – is working miracles.
“I personally witnessed one person take steps across a room after being paralyzed seven or eight years,” Matthew says.
“Moments like that showed everything he was working toward was leading somewhere.”
The athletic, 6-foot-4 Reeve, who died at age 52 in 2004, was paralyzed from the neck down in the riding accident when he was 42 years old in 1995.
Matthew was 15 at the time and recalls his dad went from being an active horseman and pilot to helpless in a wheelchair.
But Reeve, father of Matthew and Alexandra, 29, with model Gae Exton and William, 21, with his wife, the late Dana Morosini, never lost his sense of humor or will to walk again.
“His mindset was to keep the body ready for when the cure came,” recalls Matthew. “He exercised his lungs so he could breathe unaided for short periods.
“Then he began trying out devices, such as stimulation bicycles and locomotor training when it was in its early days.”
The wheelchair-bound star also created the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and became chairman of the American Paralysis Association as he crusaded for more money and research into spinal injuries.
Matthew says the progress being made with locomotor training shows that all his dad’s “efforts after the accident were worthwhile.”