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Christopher Reeve talking to the BBC
"Within the next four to five years, I should begin to start the process of recovery"
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Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 14:00 GMT
Reeve: I'm heading for full recovery

Reeve is determined to make further progress

Superman actor Christopher Reeve says it is now "not only possible but probable" he will make a full recovery after being paralysed in a riding accident five years ago.

He said it was unlikely he would be able to fulfil his hope of standing to thank his friends and family for their support by his 50th birthday in three years time.

In a way some people say breaking my neck was a good career move, but I don't recommend it
Christopher Reeve
But he told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost he hoped to be able to walk in four to five years.

And Reeve, who speaks with difficulty, also said he hoped the breathing hose he has to use could be removed within a year.

He said: "That would be a gift because you know, this is not a very nice neck tie."

Reeve, 47, last year took his first tentative steps since his accident, and said more had happened in the last four years in spinal cord research than in the previous four decades.

His charity, the Christopher Reeve Foundation, recently announced it had developed two drugs capable of reducing the impact of spinal injuries.

The Superman actor used to be a real-life action man
But the actor said that after his accident, his determination to walk again by funding research and getting leading scientists to work together was often dismissed by others.

He said: "People sort of looked at me as if, you know, 'poor guy, he's delusional.'"

Asked about the way he handles his situation without bitterness, he said: "The thing is I have opportunities - to speak up for disability movement, to push the researchers as far as they can go and to move from acting and directing which I always wanted to do.

People sort of looked at me as if, you know, 'poor guy, he's delusional'
Christopher Reeve
"In a way some people say breaking my neck was a good career move, but I don't recommend it - there's other ways to work up."

Reeve is hoping to persuade some of the world's wealthiest businessmen and women to support research in spinal cord injuries.

Will power

He said that despite huge personal wealth, some had not donated cash to charity, unlike the philanthropists of earlier generations.

Reeve said he still has to get over the shock that he cannot move when he wakes up each day, but added: "There is a phrase I use which is that sometimes bad days are good days in disguise.

"You can start out feeling pretty miserable and think about the injustice of it all, but the way out is to think of something that needs doing.

I am going to go for it and get out of this
Christopher Reeve
"It takes will power, but fortunately I was an actor for 28 years and as an actor you get very used to rejection.

"This is a big test, but fortunately I have tremendous help from my family and friends and staff and I am going to go for it and get out of this.

He said his wife Dana had been his inspiration: "(She) never for a minute looked away or pulled back or doubted.

"I said 'you know, I've really tested the marriage vows here' - but it didn't even faze her."

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See also:
22 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
Superman flies in to rescue Dome
10 Nov 99 |  Health
Implants could help paralysed patients

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