Christmas is about hope. And at Spinal Research we have hope. Despite some of our projects being delayed due to lockdown restrictions, we still maintain unwavering hope for the future. Our teams of researchers are doing their very best and thinking of innovative ways to keep our crucial research going.
And our work must keep going, as it matters to thousands of people living with a spinal cord injury, people like Steve Montgomery. On Saturday 1 June 1996, Steve had just finished putting some felt down on his garage roof and was coming down the ladder when it slipped and he fell hard on the concrete floor. He was rushed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he was told he had a burst vertebra resulting in an incomplete L1 spinal cord injury.
Steve began to lose more and more sensation in his legs and was taken to emergency surgery. When he woke up from the six-hour operation, he found he had limited mobility and assumed it was because of the surgery. He still had hope that he’d be able to walk again. It was only until the Consultant delivered the devasting news that he may never walk again and be confined to a wheelchair. It was such a cruel blow to Steve and his wife Jo, who were just starting to carve out a new life together in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, he is not alone, and every day three people in the UK are told they will never walk again.
This, however, has not held Steve back, who today remains determined to enjoy life and take on challenges having recently completed the 2020 virtual London Marathon. Despite his positive attitude, he still struggles with urinary tract infections due to the loss of bladder and bowel function. “Any restoration of bladder function, no matter how small, would be gift.” Nearly all people living with paralysis are affected in these functions and it can be emotionally and physically demanding to manage successfully. Our teams of expert scientists around the world are working on five different projects that are focused on restoring bladder and bowel function to help give a better quality of life.
Although Steve battles health issues, he considers himself lucky: “I have full use of my hands and full dexterity. The struggles that I have compared to Tetraplegics fade into insignificance.”
Will you make a Christmas gift today and help give hope?
Your donation will help make a valuable difference to our research, enabling it to progress and move forward. It could help an exciting project being led by Dr Ronaldo Ichiyama and Dr Sarah Astill at Leeds University, who recently resumed their research after the lockdown restrictions eased in the summer. They are looking to use a spinal stimulation device on a group of patients to assess the effectiveness of the treatment in restoring hand function. It builds on a successful pilot study that showed the device helped improve hand function. In this study, the researchers will be combining the electrical stimulation with task specific training, which has shown to produce better results than stimulation alone.
This project could help transform the lives of so many people who have very restricted use of their hands. If successful, it may enable them to feed and wash themselves without the need for help, giving them greater independence.
Your gift could be life changing. Please make a donation today.