For your diary: Spinal Cord Injury Day 18 May


The 18 May 2013 is Spinal Cord Injury Day, when charity groups aim to raise awareness among affected people of the support available to them and prove that, despite their difficulties, a positive future still awaits.

Spinal cord Injury

Five charities have come together as The Every Eight Hours Campaign, which will use Spinal Cord Injury Day to raise awareness of the condition and its impact. In so doing, the campaign hopes to contribute to improving lives while breaking down social barriers.

As governments throughout the world slash funding for care, disability equipment and housing, it has become more important than ever that charities can deliver the support for which many sufferers of spinal cord injury are so desperate.

With around 1,200 people paralysed annually – 1 person every 8 hours – road traffic accidents are the main cause of spinal cord injuries (SCI) while horseback riding, diving, rugby and other physical sports account for 15%.

However, regardless of whether it's due to accident or sickness, spinal cord injury can afflict anyone. All the information the body needs to initiate and control movement starts at the brain, then travels down the spinal cord to the appropriate muscles. So when SCI stops body and brain communicating, the result is a devastating and often permanent paralysis for which no cure presently exists.

The extent of paralysis is governed by part of the spinal cord which is injured. The closer the injury to the head, the more severe the paralysis.

An SCI in the neck leads to paralysis of both arms and both legs (known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia) while lower spinal cord injuries cause loss of control of leg muscles (or paraplegia).

Spinal cord injury also strikes at critical bodily functions, such as bladder and bowel control, temperature regulation, sexual function and blood pressure. Ventilators are often needed to help people with neck injuries to breathe, while the psychological pressures on patients, their families and their carers can be enormous.

Yet despite the gravity of spinal cord injury, the 5 major UK SCI charities believe it is still possible to improve the quality of sufferers' lives. On 18 May, with awareness events taking place at SCI centres throughout the UK, they'll prove their collaborative commitment.

The 5 charities behind The Every Eight Hours Campaign are:

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