New York, NY (April 7, 2014) – For the last two years, junior middleweight and charity hero Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson, along with the coalition he is a member of known as “New Yorkers To Cure Paralysis,” lobbied the State of New York to do the right thing.
In 1998, then Governor George Pataki passed a bill adding a 5.4% surcharge to all moving violations for the specific purpose of creating funds for Spinal Cord Injury research in New York. The funds created approximately $8.5 million annually. Sadly, due to our nation’s recession at that time, the funds were redirected to other unrelated causes in 2009 by Governor David Patterson. In January of 2013, Melson was asked to join the coalition “New Yorkers To Cure Paralysis.” As part of this team, Melson went to Albany and pleaded with state officials to reinstate funding for Spinal Cord Injury research.
In 2013, partial funding was returned through amendments, adding $2 million to the state budget for Spinal Cord Injury Research. This was added only weeks after Melson delivered an emotionally driven speech to the Advisor of Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. Since 1987, Gottfried served as New York’s Chair of the Healthcare Committee. This year, Melson and his fellow members of New Yorkers New York To Cure Paralysis united again in Albany, and after great lobbying efforts in front of either Congressmen or their Advisors, officials agreed to reinstate $7 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) in their 2014-2015 budget.
“Words can’t express how happy I am,” Melson said of New York State’s decision to return $7 million in funding. “We fought hard for the money to be reinstated because there are so many people in need. This bill was created specifically for Spinal Cord Injury research in the state of New York. It was always our money but it was taken from us. We understood why due to the new financial stressors a national recession placed on us, but now we needed to take back what was never truly theirs. We were forced to beg to get back what was always ours.”
Melson was also thrilled that the unified effort helped play a part in the reinstated funding.
“We came together, found the correct words to resonate with the lawmakers and touch their hearts, and they finally opened their hearts back up to us. I consider this a major victory for Spinal Cord Injury research and hopefully the additional money will help with finding a cure. The clinical trial that I donate my purses to and Team Fight To Walk has helped raise a quarter million dollars for, has the ability to receive some of this funding to conduct the clinical trial. You have to believe. There is always one more round in life. The bell will always ring signaling the start of it. You have to decide what you are going to do when the bell rings. Are you going to get up or stay on your stool? If you get up, will you fight back? We got up, fought back and scored a major victory!”
Melson, who has a professional record of 14-1-1 but suffered a serious injury in his most recent bout, is targeting a mid-summer return to the ring.