"I am with you in spirit."
Christopher Reeve
– who was paralyzed from the neck down in a horseback-riding accident almost two years ago – received Swim With Mike’s 1996 Gerald and Betty Ford People Helping People Award. This award, which is funded by the Fords, is presented annually to an individual who ha
s been an active member of the community and who has given his/her time to a wide range of charitable organizations. It was first given to President Ford in 1988, and since then has been awarded to football hero/actor Merlin Olsen, Olympic Committee member Anita DeFrantz, actress Betty White, jockey Bill Shoemaker (disabled in an automobile accident), former Olympian Rafer Johnson and former Los Angeles Kings hockey player Dave Taylor.
Unable to attend the 1996 Swim, Reeve accepted the award with a personal letter. “Of course, newly disabled people look to others for inspiration,” he wrote. “I can think of no better example than Mike Nyeholt. I want to thank President and Mrs. Ford for giving me this recognition, but I feel the most deserving honorees are the people across the country who Swim With Mike. I may not be in the pool yet, but I am with you in spirit.”



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