Skip to main content


The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

Milestones (Episode 100)

Guest: Kate Willette

Today we are celebrating our 100th episode of U2FP’s CureCast podcast! No guest would be more appropriate for that celebration than Kate Willette. Kate and Matthew started the podcast 6 years ago and she co-hosted the first 34 episodes. Kate also wrote the book “Don’t Call it a Miracle” which we consider to be required reading for anyone with a spinal cord injury.

Kate was dragged into the world of advocacy when her husband, Bruce, became a quadriplegic in 2001 and she refused to sit idly by. Being an educator and writer by training, she took the bull by the horns and demystified the science of spinal cord injury, giving our community tools for advocacy. 

During today’s chat we take a stroll down memory lane and learn about the beginnings of U2FP, the motivation for “Don't Call it a Miracle,” the conception of U2FP’s CureCast podcast and much, much more. A question we return to again and again during this conversation is: What constitutes the heart of advocacy and changemaking? And the answer, in all its various forms you’ll hear from Kate and Matthew is this: you cannot sit on the sidelines and expect the world to just get better. If anything is going to change for the better, it requires regular folks using the tools at their disposal to do something about it. And sometimes that something has an extraordinary impact.

As always, please share your thoughts with us via email at Thanks for listening!


Listen on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud

Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bio

When her husband, Bruce, fell and broke his neck in March of 2001, Kate Willette was teaching math, leading dance classes, writing short stories, and plotting a novel about Sir Isaac Newton. She and Bruce — both energetic, creative types with not much interest in getting rich — worked part time so that they could make art and have fun with their lively pre-teen daughters.

They would need every last scrap of that creativity and energy to navigate the difficult landscape of post-injury family life. Kate put her writing skills to work documenting their experience in a memoir called Some Things Are Unbreakable (2007), and began to try to understand what stood in the way of a cure. 

Years of live-blogging U2FP’s Working 2 Walk conferences made it obvious to Kate that the community lacked a foundation of knowledge. Very few people arrive at the trauma center with a working understanding of how exactly a spinal cord does what it does, much less what it would take after injury to get it to do all of that again. In 2014 she persuaded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to fund the project that became Don’t Call It a Miracle: The Movement to Cure Spinal Cord Injury (2015).

Kate and Bruce live now on an island north of Seattle, near their grown daughters’ families. They still make art and still look to science for answers.


Further Reading