SurvivorTales: Toby's Story Shows Remarkable Strides in Spinal-Injury Research

Toby Forrest was an adventurous young man before a diving accident landed him in a wheelchair. But rather than wallow in depression, Forrest has become a successful musician and model for hope and optimism within the community of folks who have suffered spinal injuries.

Tonight, the remarkable stories of Forrest and the Reeve-Irvine Research Center (which is named after the late actor Christopher Reeve and Irvine Ranch heiress Joan Irvine Smith) are presented on screen at Irvine Barclay Theatre.

That's where audiences will be treated to the world premiere of SurvivorTales: Toby's Story. Behind-the-scenes footage reveals Forrest is not just making progress, so is the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.

"By focusing mainly on animal models of spinal cord injury, we try to understand the basic processes of regeneration and repair," explains Dr. Oswald Steward, the center's director, in a statement accompanying tonight's world premiere. "We are making huge strides and have great hope that research happening right now could help Toby and others living with paralysis in the near future."

Reeve became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse in an equestrian competition in Virginia in 1995. He went on to form the Reeve-Irvine Research Center with Smith, herself a South County equestrian enthusiast. The actor was 52 when he died in 2004. But the center has continued to produce cutting-edge research when it comes to spinal injuries.

To RSVP for tonight's 6 p.m. screening, email


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