It is my pleasure to put pen to paper or more accurately ‘splint to key board’ for this significant milestone. Tonight is a fitting tribute to the literally thousands of individuals affected by spinal cord injury who passionately believe that there is life after disability and that quality of life can be achieved with support from Back Up to help us achieve our dreams.
Rewind the clock a quarter of a century and lying in my bed at Stanmore Spinal centre… I vividly recall my life ‘hanging in the balance’, fearful of a future living with a serious spinal cord injury.
My own turning point and really the start of Back Up took place just 10 months after my accident, sitting in a modified toboggan, sliding down some slopes of a Swiss ski resort, tethered to my new best friend, 60 year old Raymond Schneebli. After the arduous grind of intense rehabilitation, searching for a reason to live, I came to a controlled stop and broke into a full faced grin! My life was filled with a new sense of optimism, enthusiasm and a glimpse into a future with new goals… freedom, independence and a full filling life beyond the hospital.
Back Up’s humble origins began in a small office in London under the auspices of the British Ski Federation. Through its multiple manifestations and development Back up has flourished beyond our wildest expectations whilst helping transform the lives of thousands of people affected by spinal cord injury.
As we move forward to embrace the opportunities ahead for the next 25 years, I’d like to sincerely thank each and every one of you who have played a part in achieving our tremendous success.
Have a fantastic evening and thank you for celebrating with us.