COVID-19 has, in many ways, paralyzed society. From physical limitations and financial strain to debilitating fear, this pandemic has given many of us our first taste of true immobilization. For people living with paralysis, this is far from a new feeling.
Alan T. Brown is Director of Public Impact at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Alan was injured in 1988, at the age of 20, when his neck was crushed by an ocean wave at a Club Med in Martinique. The accident caused a C5-6 spinal cord injury and left Alan, a hockey player, quadriplegic, with no movement below his chest. On his 21st birthday, Alan underwent surgery to have two metal plates and 11 screws inserted in his spinal column.
For nearly 31 years since the accident, Alan and his family have, through the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis, provided support, education, and advocacy for the paralysis community. Today, the foundation focuses on improving the lives of people living with paralysis through peer mentoring, outreach, and fundraising to help others with basic needs like wheelchairs and ongoing medical care. And now Alan has joined the Reeve Foundation to extend the reach and impact of his message to the paralysis community.
Alan has lived in Florida for the last 22 years, where he has enjoyed a successful career in public relations and marketing. He has worked for Slim-Fast Foods, organizing advertising campaigns for top celebrities; he managed community affairs for the Florida Marlins during their World Series-winning season in 1997, launched a sports radio station 790 The Ticket and had his own public relations firm PrimeTime Public Relations & Marketing and travels the country on behalf of the Reeve Foundation to advocate, increase awareness.
In 2012, Alan T. Brown joined the Reeve Foundation as the Director of Public Impact. In his tenure, Brown has provided direct counsel to hundreds of individuals living with paralysis and expanded the reach of the Reeve Foundation’s programs and services. And, through his mentorship, Brown has introduced a number of community-driven programs like Team LeGrand and events such as the Mike Nichols Charity Hockey Game.
In Episode 8, Molly and Hans interview Alan Brown — who in addition to his career in public relations is involved with the Alan T. Brown and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundations. Alan has been physically paralyzed since 1988; among many interesting topics, he shares the similarities he has noticed between the COVID-19 Pandemic and life with physical paralysis. He shares tools that have helped him mobilize his body and mind in spite of his paralysis. Listen to learn more about how to stay connected during the pandemic, how to repurpose negative energy, and how to find meaning in hardship.
Below are links to all the items we discussed during our conversation with Alan.
The Great Courses Plus is our amazing sponsor and they’re offering Conversations Matter listeners a special deal! Get one month free on the Great Courses Plus! Visit the greatcoursesplus.com/molly to access this deal today!