In the spring of 2005, just 6 months after the passing of Christopher Reeve, six “bionic women” organized the first Rally in Washington on behalf of the spinal cord injury community. Three of the women – Pam Bailey, Susan Maus, and Betheny Winkler – had spinal cord injuries or disease themselves. The other three – Faye Armitage, Suzanne Poon, and Marilyn Smith – all had sons with spinal cord injuries. Their collective determination to fight for a cure led to the historic Washington Rally.
Motivated by the knowledge and energy gained at the Rally, Susan, Betheny and Marilyn founded Unite 2 Fight Paralysis (U2FP) in late 2005, and a unique advocacy organization was born. In 2006 U2FP introduced the Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium, bringing research scientists, practitioners, investors, SCI survivors and family members together for the first time. This annual conference continues to foster knowledge, collaboration and power for all of the stakeholders committed to achieving a cure for spinal cord injury.
Through the years Unite 2 Fight Paralysis has stayed true to its roots. We are governed and staffed by people who have a personal connection to paralysis; we live with it every day. We don’t spend a lot of money on marketing or fundraising or salaries. We focus our time and energy on understanding the science, and bringing key players together who can advance the best therapies as quickly as possible. We are the Voice of the Cure.