After breaking his neck at an equestrian competition in 1995, Christopher Reeve, told that he would die a quadraplegic, resolved to walk again. Complaining that conservative medical researchers were hampering progress, he began to fund research expanding on the work of UCLA's V.R. Edgerton which suggested that paralyzed cats and other mammals could learn to walk again if 'taught' to do so by having their limbs put through the motions using, for example, a special harness and treadmill. Naturally, skeptics in the medical community denounced Reeve's efforts, painting him as reckless, misguided, annoying and difficult.
In October, 2003, the Lasker Foundation, an organization dedicated to the advancement of science, honored Reeve with an award for "heroic advocacy of medical research in general and victims of a disability in particular." In his acceptance speech, Reeve remarked that the award had offered him "encouragement to be even more annoying and difficult in the future!"