Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Paralysed Mum and daughter take on 400K push and run challenge for Spinal Research

A paralysed Mum and her daughter are aiming to push and run 400km during May to raise vital funds for spinal research.

Book publisher Sally Poulson’s life changed in an instant 14 years ago when she suffered a spinal stroke – and in a matter of hours became a full-time wheelchair user.

Sally from Chearsley near Thame said:

“I was driving to pick my son up from Scouts and my legs suddenly went a bit dead and I started to feel unwell. Within 10 minutes of getting back home, I couldn’t move my legs and we were heading to hospital.

“Part of the cartilage in one of my discs had come away and, unusually, had lodged between my spine and spinal cord causing a spinal stroke. You’re twice as likely to win the Euro Millions as you are for this to happen to you.

“Nothing prepares anyone for such a life-changing situation and the effect it has on you as a person, your family and friends. Being told you will never walk again feels like a life sentence and propels you into a world full of challenges just to live a life that most people are blessed to take for granted.”

Before her stroke Sally, 59, was a fitness fan and keen runner. But it took her a long time after her injury to find the confidence and the opportunity to return to decent exercise. During Covid she began more active wheeling and is now joining her daughter Emily on their marathon May fundraising challenge.

Sally is aiming to complete 200km in her wheelchair while Emily will run 200km. The amazing mother and daughter duo aim to raise thousands for Spinal Research, the leading UK charity funding research into new treatments for spinal cord injury.

Sally added:

“I was delighted that my daughter has caught the running bug too we really want to raise as much as possible to create a little more hope for others like me who suffer spinal cord injuries. This world is not really designed for wheelchair users and only pushing on with research can we open up opportunities for improvements in our lives.”

The mother-of-two has continued to travel all over the world in her role as Managing Director of children’s publisher Priddy Books. And, while she will complete most of the 200Km on accessible routes near her home, Sally is also planning to clock up some miles during a working visit to New York in mid-May.

Emily, 27, will be running mostly around her home in Bath and hopes her Mum will be able to join her on a couple of routes. She said:

“It will definitely be a challenge for us both to do 50K a week but it’s a lovely thing for us to do together. And for such a great cause.”

Every four hours someone in the UK is paralysed after a spinal cord injury. It can happen to anyone at any time. Spinal Research is the leading medical charity focused on the repair and restoration of the spinal cord with the goal of curing paralysis.

Louisa McGinn, Spinal Research Chief Executive, said:

“Sally is an inspiration and it’s brilliant that she and her amazing daughter have come up with a fundraising challenge they can do together.

“We’re in touching distance of function-restoring treatments for people paralysed after a spinal cord injury and we really appreciate every single donation that brings our vision of curing paralysis a step closer.”

To donate to Sally and Emily’s fundraising challenge for Spinal Research, please visit:


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