People affected by paralysis hope for cure through proposed $10 million grant for research
MADISON, Wis. — More than 10,000 people in the state of Wisconsin suffer from a spinal impairment injury.
There is research being done to help those who are paralyzed walk again. But for Maxwell Rammer, the research is still underfunded and simply isn’t enough.
Rammer was paralyzed from the chest down in a diving accident when he was 18 years old.
“It was originally one week before I went off to college,” Rammer said.
Now 20 years old, Rammer lives his life unable to do most things without someone else’s help.
“It’s changed my way in every possible way imaginable, mostly for the negative,” he said. He added that his paralysis has affected “literally everything. I can’t really hang out with my friends as much as I want to. It’s hard to even just go about and do stuff in the community because a lot of places just aren’t wheelchair accessible.”
But change is on the horizon at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Maxwell Rammer was paralyzed from a diving accident when he was 18 years old. He said even just to be able to move his hands again would change his life. Rep. Jimmy Anderson is proposing a new bill for a $10 million grant to fund research to cure paralysis. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/IdhSayymqn
— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) July 25, 2019
“I’m fighting to make people’s lives better across the country,” Fitchburg Democratic Rep. Jimmy Anderson said at a news conference announcing the bill Thursday.
Anderson is proposing a bill that would create a $10 million grant program for spinal injury research, in hopes of curing paralysis one day.
“I hope that all of my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate and the governor get behind this great movement to cure paralysis,” Anderson said.
Rammer is hoping the bill passes.
“If I were able to just pinch these two fingers together, I would be able to drive myself, be able to grocery shop by myself, be able to cook by myself, get changed, shower, do a whole array of things by myself,” Rammer said.
Rammer added that the issue he sees with the research being done is that most focus on enabling paralyzed people to walk again. While Rammer said that kind of breakthrough would be great, the smaller breakthroughs — bowel, bladder and sexual function — are equally important.
“Those might not seem like big things, but to someone that’s living with a spinal cord injury, that’s night and day,” Rammer said.
If this bill passes and paralysis is cured, Rammer said he “probably wouldn’t be able to frown. I already do wake up and feel blessed that I’m not in the more serious conditions. That’s something that I wake up every day and I think to myself, ‘Wow this could be a lot worse.'”
No matter what condition, Rammer is just hoping the bill receives bipartisan support so he can take his life back the way he knew it before he was paralyzed.
Anderson said it’s not a question of whether a cure is possible, but when the cure will be found. The bill, LRB-1693, has not yet been formally proposed. It is currently circulating for co-sponsors.
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