Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of service members who returned home from World War II in 1946 with spinal cord injuries and few to no solutions to the major challenges they faced.
Unable to comfortably live in their homes or get around by public transportation, they found barriers to independence everywhere. On a mission to improve accessibility for themselves, their fellow paralyzed Veterans, and all people with disabilities, these Veterans joined together to form PVA. Today, 75 years later, PVA remains a major support system for our nation’s paralyzed and disabled heroes. Join us in celebrating our history, and the accomplishments to come!
A Timeline Of Our History
75th Anniversary Video
Thousands of service members and Veterans sustain spinal cord injuries every year, resulting in a loss of motor skills and/or sensory function. Countless more are currently living with paralysis – more than five million according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. These disabled Veterans face many challenges in life, whether in accessing public places or securing the benefits they earned from their service. For Veterans with spinal cord injuries, the challenges run even deeper. Many spinal cord injuries and diseases are not well understood and prevent paralyzed Veterans from participating in many aspects of American life.
We offer a unique support system for our nation’s disabled Veterans:
- We are loyal to our Veterans. PVA meets Veterans at their hospital bedside at the moment of their injury or diagnosis and sticks by their side throughout their entire life.
- We bring special expertise to the table. Since PVA is run by paralyzed Veterans, we have a deep understanding of the issues our members face. We know how to work with Veterans who face debilitating diseases, such as MS and ALS. We also have a team of highly trained legislative advocates, architects, medical professionals, lawyers, and other professionals that work hard to ensure every Veteran regains the quality of life they fought for.
- We push for meaningful reform. PVA goes beyond helping individual Veterans and works to change the sociopolitical system through lawmaking. Since our founding in 1946, we have helped pass some of the nation’s greatest legislation, including the ADA.
- We lead the nation in a search for a cure. Through PVA’s Research and Education Foundations, PVA focuses on exploring treatments and finding a cure for SCI/D. We have supported valuable research that’s made a tremendous impact on Veterans’ care, including new approaches to the treatment of chronic pain.
The Next 75
So much has changed since our founding in 1946. Today, paralyzed Veterans have civil rights that permit them access to public spaces, adaptive sports, and career opportunities. But there is still much more work to be done. Among some of our big initiatives in the coming years, will be:
Accessible air travel
Family planning access for Veterans
Opportunities and advancements for women Veterans
Adaptive vehicles and so much more!
Join us in celebrating 75 years of serving disabled and paralyzed heroes:
Learn about our Honor the Spot campaign and sign the pledge to honor handicapped parking spots for those who really need it.
Sign up to support our fight for accessibility for all by pushing forward vital legislation
Sponsor/host a 75th anniversary-themed PVA event or fundraiser
Share PVA’s story on your social media!
Donate to our programs