To commemorate the 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury, is joining forces with community members in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record.
UPDATE: They broke the record! 193 people! Broke it by 87 people.
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Invitation
An invitation on their website, July 8, 2010 reads “The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the passage of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by setting a Guinness World Record for the most wheelchairs moving in a line!” Their announcement includes an invitation, stating “anyone in a wheelchair is welcome to participate in breaking the record.” The World Record event will be held Sunday July 25, 2010 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.
The foundation, named after the actor and activist Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana, brings needed attention to the daily issues people with disabilities face. The Reeve Foundation is “dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research.” They also provide resources for people living with paralysis. Partnering with close to 100 other organizations, the foundation provides resources, referral services and information, including the breaking developments in treatment and cures for spinal cord injury.
Charlie Dobbs, consultant for the Reeve Foundation says she has 105 confirmed event participants so far (as of July 15). The current record is 106 set in 2008 in Woodstock NY. Dobbs feels confident that there will be enough participants to break the record, adding, “One person is flying in from Brazil…” She is working hard, making phone calls and touching bases with several organizations, gathering participant confirmations along the way.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act opened up a world of possibilities for Americans with disabilities. Signed into law July 26, 1990, the U.S. Dept of Labor summarizes the laws purpose, “The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and activities of state and local government. Telecommunications relay services are established.” To the lives of 49.7 million Americans living with a disability ADA means the availability of more jobs, public transportation, and access to buildings.
Interested world record participant, Heather Thornton of El Segundo, CA will do her best to be there July 25. Heather has lived with disabling effects of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for over three decades. She is grateful for the efforts of the Reeve Foundation, and thanks them for bringing attention to the cause. She says, “An event like this makes me feel like someone has my back.” Heather remembers life before ADA and compares life before and after, “like night and day.” She says the passing of ADA has meant, “the simple matter of participating is society and not.” She remembers a time when even going to a restaurant was stressful because of the prevalence of structural barriers, and states, since the passage of ADA, “I am able to live my best life.”
The Reeve Foundation website has a simple sign up form available for anyone interested in participating. The event will be held at Dodger Stadium 1000 Elysian Park Ave. Los Angeles CA 90012, on Sunday, July 25 2010. Participants must arrive by 8:30am in order to fill out the necessary forms required by the Guinness World Record Organization.
By Dagmar Barlow
- United States Department of Labor, dol.gov, Retrieved July 15, 2010
- Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, christopherreeve.org, Retrieved July 15, 2010
- U.S. Census Bureau, census.gov, Retrieved July 15, 2010