YORKSHIRE racegoers have raised over £30,000 to help the UK’s leading spinal research charity in their mission to find a cure for paralysis.
The opening meeting of the steeplechasing season at Wetherby Racecourse is a traditional fundraiser for Spinal Research and racegoers were joined this year by inspirational Manchester Arena bomb survivor Martin Hibbert.
Martin and his daughter Eve were just six metres away from suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated his devastating device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert six years ago.
He was paralysed after one of 22 shrapnel wounds severed his spinal cord. Eve miraculously survived a catastrophic brain injury but, despite amazing progress, still requires round-the-clock care.
Martin, 47, said:
“I’m very excited about where things are going at the moment, with science offering real hope for people with spinal cord injuries.
“Curing paralysis is a journey of restoring the functions stolen by this injury and it’s one we have now started. Restoring things like bowel and bladder function, or some hand and arm function will make such a huge difference to the quality of life of millions of people.”
The inspirational campaigner and fundraiser who last year became only the second paraplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro added:
“That’s why it’s so important to support the amazing and important work that Spinal Research do.”
Every four hours someone in the UK is paralysed following a spinal cord injury with 60,000 people and their families living with the devastating consequences.
Spinal Research Chair Tara Stewart, who was paralysed from the chest down after a horse-riding accident in 2014, said:
“Curing paralysis will be the medical breakthrough of the 21st Century.
“Up until recently, looking for function-restoring treatments for people with spinal cord injuries has been a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“We have now found some of those needles but what we need now is the funding to get those treatments to the people who need them.”