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U2FP's Blog > Keeping you current on the movement to cure paralysis

Our CAN Initiative is Growing

Every Spring I’m amazed by nature’s efficiency and voracity. The speed with which things grow and transform every year causes me to reflect on the challenges of regeneration post injury. An infuriating puzzle.

Cure Advocacy Network - Expansion

Spring is bringing some growth to U2FP, and thanks to a generous donation from Alan Tholkes we have recently hired Jake Beckstrom as our Cure Advocacy Network Consultant. I first met Jake when as a peer mentor came to visit us when my son Gabe was a month or so out from injury. We have stayed in loose contact ever since. Jake went off to the Vermont Law School where he had some great opportunities in public policy and advocacy work. He recently returned to Minnesota excited by the opportunity to join in supporting the work that we have been doing across the US.

Jake will be helping me to strengthen and grow this program and will be providing direct support to our advocates in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. We are so thrilled to have him join the team. Please welcome him by dropping a note at


Cure Advocacy Network - Pennsylvania

On a related note, I will be traveling to Pennsylvania next week to continue our push to pass Senate Bill #31, the Spinal Cord Disability Research Act. We have a renewed sense of optimism after Rep. Alex Charlton has offered to champion our cause. He is father to a daughter with SCI and is willing to provide some extra push to get our Bill through the legislature. Send him a note of thanks and support as well:

[Sidenote: my first real girlfriend was from his district in PA, so I think there’s a kind of pre-ordained inevitability going on here. No need to send her a note though.]

Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages as we meet with legislators next week because we’ll need you to make some calls and send some emails.


Cure Advocacy Network - Minnesota

Lastly, on Monday of this week The Minnesota SCI/TBI Research Grant Program invested $1.4 million into SCI research here in Minnesota. That happened, on several levels, because of us.

Because just as important as the funding amount were the critical discussions across the panel of community members, scientists and clinicians that included the following:

  • acute vs. chronic studies
  • research budgets
  • the likelihood of translation to humans
  • strategic next steps for research projects

These efforts matter. And they matter most when people from our community are at the table. So help us get more people to the table.

Our Cure Advocacy Network is poised for some great opportunities this year. Help us develop and deepen these efforts.

Fuel The Journey - become a monthly donor. We've got a lot of ground to cover and we can't do it without you.

Join us!

Matthew Rodreick
Executive Director, U2FP