In support of…

The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) Charity

Karen’s connection with the charity
A patron for SIA, Karen Darke 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. The bike she raced to gold on in the Rio Paralympics 2016 was designed and built by Williams F1, whose founder Frank Williams, was also paralysed in an accident. His daughter Clare Williams is Patron of The Spinal Injuries Association, 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) helps SCI people rebuild and lead fulfilled lives. SIA is a lifeline: the expert voice and leading source of information and advice, supporting and representing SCI people for over 40 years. The charity is built on the belief that everyone has the right to live a fulfilled life, and that means the life they choose.

An example of the charity’s work

The vital work of The Spinal Injuries Association
When someone sustains a spinal-cord injury (SCI), their life changes forever. Every injury is unique and everyone’s experience of SCI will be different. But there is one common denominator: everyone who sustains an SCI – not to mention their families and friends – will need support at some stage as they learn to rebuild their lives and adapt to their new ‘normal’. Even many years after an injury, a change in health or circumstances can leave someone needing expert information and advice.

That is why the charity exists: to provide lifelong support to the estimated 50,000 people living with SCI in the UK. In the last year the charity:

  • Gave 4,659 peer support sessions to SCI people in hospitals, SCI Centres, in the community and in people’s own homes.
  • Dealt with 1,966 enquiries via its Advice Line.
  • Provided clinical support to SCI people via its Nurse Specialist service.
  • Delivered telephone counselling support sessions to SCI people and their families and friends.

None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the charity’s lifelong supporters – donors, fundraisers, corporate members and sponsors, etc.

What your donation could do…
By donating to the charity, you can support SCI people in various ways. For example:-

  • £50 could enable a response to an enquiry through the Advice Line. For many SCI people and their family members or carers, the Advice Line is a vital source of information, guidance and signposting to others who can help.
  • £100 could enable support of a volunteer for a year. Last year, over 250 volunteers supported SIA whilst gaining new knowledge and skills.
  • £150 could enable a Peer Support session for an SCI person or their family member or carer. The Peer Support Officers provide practical guidance and emotional support, as well as help them build confidence and hope for the future.
  • £300 could enable provision of specialist SCI training to a health or care professional. Consequently, they will have greater ability to identify, understand and meet the complex needs of SCI patients.
  • £500 could enable provision of Peer Support to an SCI person or their family member or carer for a year. Ongoing support is crucial for SCI people, especially during the transition from hospital to home life which can be extremely daunting.