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The Day I Met Christopher Reeve

  • Date: 2010/07/13 (Rev: 2013/06/17) Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
  • Synopsis : Reeve was in Columbus Ohio to speak at The Ohio State University commencement.

Main Document

On June 13, 2003, I met my hero, Christopher Reeve.

Each of us has heroes we admire. Some of our heroes we have known personally, while others we admire from afar. On June 13, 2003, I met my hero, Christopher Reeve.

Reeve was in Columbus, Ohio to speak at The Ohio State University commencement. He rolled onto the football field in his power wheelchair, and faced the graduates and their families that were gathered in the stadium. His speech touched on several different topics. He told the graduates that they would need to uphold personal and professional morals and ethics as they went out into the world. He also talked about how to better achieve self awareness and asked them to be more accepting of diversity and more open to change. He shared stories of his life and talked about how to live a more conscious life, appreciate friends, and be more compassionate and humble. His powerful words brought several standing ovations from the crowd. The audience learned many lessons that day and the graduates came away with a value laden message to start them on their new careers.

After his speech, I had the opportunity to meet Reeve at a small reception at the Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Center on campus, where I spent five weeks as a patient after my spinal cord injury. This meeting was significant in many ways. The day marked the fifth anniversary of my spinal cord injury. It also was a day to share what I have been writing since my injury, and a day to thank Reeve.

This was a special way to celebrate my life. I was sitting face to face with the man who inspired me to focus on a hopeful future during my crisis. When I rolled up to meet him, I showed him a photo I had of him that was taken on June 12, 1997, when he was speaking in Columbus.

At that time, I sat in a folding chair with the other "able bodied" members of the audience and listened to his message. He told his story of self pity while in the hospital after his spinal cord injury, and warned that we should limit the amount of time we dwell on what we have lost. He told us to focus on a hopeful future and what abilities we still have and achievements that are possible. He helped me to understand that after an adversity, we need to find a reason to hope. I learned a valuable lesson a year before I needed to apply it to my life.

When I was in the rehabilitation center, I had Reeve's picture on the wall in my room to remind me not to focus on self pity. That photo served to channel my thoughts about what I could do with my life, rather than how my life had been permanently changed. As I found myself crying in the hospital bed, I looked at his picture and changed my thoughts away from my pain and loss. Now, five years later, I was showing Reeve that photo and thanking him for inspiring me.

I also gave Reeve a draft copy of my new book, "Take Back Your Life! Regaining Your Footing After Life Throws You a Curve." This is a special collection of 20 of my monthly syndicated articles. In this book, I share my lessons to live by so others can rebound from their adversity and live with conviction. This is my way of giving back to those who are in need of encouragement to take charge of their lives.

Sometimes we hear or read a lesson to help us to live our lives before we are able to comprehend how to apply it in our lives. We are often guided by others to think about life in a new way. As we gather wisdom from others, we need to take the message to heart with full intention to do something with what we have learned. Good intentions are one thing. Implementation of that information will result in the maximum impact in our lives.

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a speaker and writer. To book her to speak at a conference, or to subscribe to her free monthly inspirational column, go to: www.RosemarieSpeaks.com Rosemarie conducts presentations that bring out the best in people, to help them achieve goals, and take charge of their lives. Rosemarie helps her audiences discover their inner strength. Her core message is focused on sharing information, strategies, and life lessons that provide the tools to LIVE LIFE WITH CONVICTION. She is the author of "Take Back Your Life!" and is Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2004.

Rosemarie would like to receive your comments about the impact her article has made on your life. Write her at: Email rosemarie@rosemariespeaks.com

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