Credit: Travis Roy Foundation

The world lost a champion for animal research on Oct. 29. Retired ice hockey player Travis Roy passed away from complications of surgery.

Roy was just a few seconds into his first game as a freshman forward for the Boston University Terriers in October 1995 when he crashed into the boards and broke the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae in his spine. The injury left him paralyzed from the neck down. Rather than giving up on life, Roy chose to use his experience to make a difference for others, and he became an advocate for spinal cord research.

A year after his accident, he founded the Travis Roy Foundation, which has raised more than $9 million over the years to support spinal cord research and help other quadriplegics receive equipment to maintain their quality of life. As a part of his commitment to advancing spinal cord research, Roy was a proponent of animal research.

Roy was featured in the Foundation for Biomedical Research’s highly acclaimed 2000 public service campaign “Waiting for a Cure.” In an emotionally charged interview for FBR, Roy recalled his accident and said there is hope for him and other spinal injury patients to regain their mobility thanks to research advancements in spinal cord regeneration. He shared a research breakthrough in which a paralyzed rat regained mobility in its hind legs thanks to spinal cord regeneration technology. Watch the “Waiting for a Cure” TV spot here.

FBR’s board and staff mourn Roy’s tragic and untimely death. His legacy lives on. Thanks to animal research, quadriplegic patients will one day be able to regain mobility, as Roy foresaw during his life. The day after his death, the city of Boston lit its buildings in red and white, the colors of Boston University, to honor his memory.

Credit: FBR “Waiting for a Cure” PSA

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