Today (15 May) is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day. Every year, spinal cord injury charities come together, to celebrate the day and raise money.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day is celebrated in May every year. Organised by five specialist charities in the UK – Aspire, Back Up Trust, Spinal Injuries Association, Spinal Research, and Spinal Injuries Scotland – the day enables people who have sustained a spinal cord injury, as well as their family, friends and carers, to come together and share experiences.
Each year in the UK, 2,500 people acquire a spinal cord injury, through injury or illness. The impact of the injury can often be life-changing, so the day is essential to raise awareness, and signpost people to the organisations that can support them during their recovery and beyond.
The day also promotes the fantastic achievements of those who have sustained a spinal cord injury, as well as their supporters, families, friends, and healthcare workers.
WHAT IS A SPINAL CORD INJURY?
According to the Spinal Injuries Association, the spinal cord is an extension of the brain, and is made up of nerves. The nerves carry messages from our brain to the rest of our body, which help us move, feel pressure and control vital functions like breathing, blood pressure, bladder and bowels.
When the spinal cord becomes damaged, communication between the brain and the rest of the body is disrupted, resulting in a loss of movement and sensation from below the level of injury. Damage to the spinal cord can be caused by trauma such as an accident, or as a result of infection or disease.
Damage to your spinal cord in the back results in paraplegia, which affects movement and sensation in your legs. Damage to the spinal cord in the neck will result in tetraplegia, which impacts the movement and sensation in all four limbs, as well as stomach and some chest muscles.
Though a spinal cord injury can be life-changing, it is not life-limiting, as demonstrated by actor George Robinson, who recently starred in season two of Netflix’s Sex Education.
All of the charities involved in running Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day provide essential support and care, including medical help, as well as housing advice, benefits information, and guidance to live an independent life.
So, this Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, make sure you celebrate your own achievements, as well as those of others living with a spinal cord injury.