Reaching Out to People Living with a Devastating Injury

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Wise Young opens up a lab to patients and their families

Charlene Lightcap had never been to Rutgers. But one Friday night she drove from her Delaware home to the Nelson Laboratories building on Busch Campus.

Her mission was personal. Wise Young, School of Arts and Sciences professor and one of the world's foremost experts on spinal cord injury, was holding an open house in which he'd discuss his efforts to help patients recover and walk again.

Lightcap, whose daughter Renee was paralyzed in a car accident several years ago, had no idea what to expect.

"I just decided to go," Lightcap said. "I never thought I'd actually meet Dr. Young."

Yet minutes after stepping off the elevator, she found herself shaking hands with the noted neuroscientist.

"Hi, I'm Charlene, and my daughter Renee is quadriplegic," she said.

"Hi Charlene," Young said in a reassuring voice. "I'm glad you came."

She joined about 40 others at the W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, where Young serves as founding director, and holds open houses that include a tour, film, and a lecture that starts with the basics of spinal cord injury and moves to the latest treatments. 

Article written by John Chadwick, SAS Senior Writer
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