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Christopher Reeve, back in Britain for the first time since the 1995 horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed, remains optimistic about his condition.

"I always said that on my 50th birthday I would stand up and thank everybody who had helped me," Reeve, 47, told reporters Saturday during a visit to London's Millennium Dome.

Reeve, who lived in Britain for 10 years after making "Superman" in 1977, toured the dome with his wife, Dana, 7-year-old son, Will, and daughter, Alexandra, 16.

He said he talked in London with a Swiss researcher, Martin Schwartz, who expects to start trials of a new treatment within 18 months aimed at restoring mobility to spinal injury victims.

Reeve, who was having a reunion with some 45 friends over the weekend, said he wasn't concerned about any social awkwardness at the event.

"When they see that I am strong, I'm healthy but temporarily seated for a while they get over their shyness about it," he said.

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