The Charity

Spinal Injuries Association

Karen was paralysed at age 21 in a dramatic rock-climbing accident on sea-cliffs in Scotland. In a matter of seconds, the course of her life was changed forever, and she woke from a coma to be told she would never walk again: incidentally a notion that Karen has constantly challenged, believing nothing beyond possibility Karen has no or feeling or movement from the chest down. Her motivation to raise £79K for The Spinal Injuries Association goes back to that time…

“Becoming paralysed is a shock. It is an entry into an unknown, scary world. It felt like starting from the beginning, learning how to do basic things again from getting out of bed, into a wheelchair, how to dress, manage bodily functions and navigate the day to day needs of living. The social, emotional and psychological impact of adapting to a world on wheels were also significant. The Spinal Injuries Association magazine and support they provided gave me a window to new possibilities. I learned that so much was still possible, and with that information and inspiration I have been able to move forward to live a full and incredibly adventurous life again.”

Twenty-four years after her injury, Karen’s connection to SIA was re-strengthened. She won a Gold medal in handcycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The bike she raced to gold on was designed and built by Williams F1, whose founder Frank Williams, was also paralysed in an accident. His daughter Clare Williams is Patron of SIA, and the support of Williams F1 in production of her bike inspired Karen to target fundraising £79K for the charity. 

At least three new people become paralysed each day in the UK alone: a shocking, life-changing event for not only the individual, but all touched by spinal cord injury. 

The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) help spinal cord injured people rebuild and lead fulfilled lives. SIA is a lifeline: the expert voice and leading source of information and advice, supporting and representing spinal cord injured people for over 40 years. The organisation is built on the belief that everyone has the right to live a fulfilled life, and that means the life they choose.