Unite 2 Fight

A few days ago I received an email from another advocate who I am just getting to know.  He had heard that the U2FP Board of Directors was meeting for its annual weekend retreat, and generously took the time to share his perceptions of our organization and the cure movement in general.

Our name, he said, initially grabbed his attention, and he reminded me of our founders’ discussion of a name and what words were important.  Aside from the attraction of alliteration, we chose “Unite” and “Fight” because we believe these verbs describe the fundamental actions our COMMUNITY must take to advance the science that will achieve curative therapies.

In the words of my correspondent, Dennis,

“Smart people, flashy websites, good scientific knowledge, etc are only tools, but without unity, these tools will not work.”

“Like the best computer in the world is meaningless without someone to operate it, the scientific elements to beat paralysis will be meaningless without people willing to fight to bring it to the bedside.”

We often hear that the spinal cord injury community is too fractured, impoverished, and apathetic to galvanize – a perception that U2FP is working hard to dispel.  Dennis is active with a small craft union where he lives and works in Japan.  He draws a parallel between the early labor movements in the U.S. and our current efforts to organize people living with paralysis. 

“When the industrial unions were being formed in your country there were a lot of craft unions already around. The answer of the craft unions to industrial workers was that they were impossible to organize. ‘How can you organize a bunch of poor whites, blacks, and illiterate immigrants into one force,’ was their refrain. Well, others recognized that this group was not disparate but had something very much in common; to better their lot in life. This movement, whether you like unions or not, ended up transforming society and the lives of millions.”

At this moment in time, the science of regeneration and restoration is ahead of the funding and advocacy that will bring therapies to human application.  If we want to translate the science from rats to humans, we as a community need to get busy talking, writing, raising money, and uniting to fight for the cure.  It will not be handed to us.

Read more from Dennis at his blog, StemCells&AtomBombs.

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