On average, three people sustain a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) every week in Ireland with Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) being the only charitable organisation dedicated to providing support for these 2,300+ people. This year, the charity aims to raise €100,000 by appealing to Cork businesses and public representatives to get on the pathway to accessibility, and team up with service users of the charity by spending time in a wheelchair, as part of its largest national fundraising and awareness campaign for 2023 – ‘A Day in My Wheels’.
‘A Day in My Wheels,’ initially launched by SII in 2021, aims to highlight the need for a collaborative approach to create inclusive pathways to accessibility, while raising much-needed funds to support individuals living with SCI in Ireland.
The charity advocates on behalf of its members while also providing; one-to-one services from its community outreach team, and access to its trained peer mentor and comprehensive educational programmes. Another core element of SII’s work is counselling services for families and service users to help them cope with their new reality. This service delivery has changed post-Covid and in recent years, the charity has observed a significant increase in requests for these services.
In addition to all of these vital services, individuals and their families who are suddenly faced with SCI are faced with the cost of medical care, bowel and bladder care, pressure relieving equipment, and specialist requirements such as wheelchairs, hoists and adaptions to their car and home.
The aim of the campaign is not only to help the general public obtain a better understanding of living with this life-altering injury, but to offer employers and companies assistance to put the appropriate supports in place to help such individuals.
Speaking at the launch of the 2023 campaign Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Frank O’Flynn, said;
“It is important to learn directly from the people who are living with Spinal Cord Injuries about how we can make the workplace and the world in general more accessible. This incredible campaign gives businesses actual experience of a situation they may not have encountered and addresses the unconscious bias that we all have towards these individuals.
It is vital that we all play our part when it comes to making the world a more accessible and comfortable place for everyone and I would invite as many businesses as possible to take part.”
Fiona Bolger, CEO for Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) explained that;
“On average, three people sustain a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) every week in Ireland. The impact can be devastating, and we want to be able to continue to provide support to our service users as they adjust to their life post-injury.
One of the biggest realisations upon becoming a wheelchair user is understanding just how inaccessible the world can be, especially in the workplace. That is why SII has developed this programme for companies so that they can clearly understand all the issues faced by people with a disability.
‘A Day in My Wheels’ is a call to all Cork businesses to support accessibility in their workplaces and beyond, thus having a positive impact on the daily lives of wheelchair users. This fundraiser will have a vast and positive impact on the much-needed services we provide these individuals with SCI and their families.”
SII is inviting business leaders and public representatives (with up to four of their team members) to sign up now and join SII ambassadors and the Disability Federation of Ireland on Wednesday the 4th of October for approximately 2 hours at Cork County Hall for breakfast, talks and workshops. Following this, participants will have the opportunity to ‘buddy up’ with a service user and spend the afternoon using a wheelchair. The aim of the day is to provide a unique insight into the reality and accessibility issues those with SCI face every day, while raising much needed funds for SII.
Companies or individuals are invited to contribute €5,000 to participate in ‘A Day in My Wheels’ 2023, where funds will directly support the 2,300+ individuals in Ireland with a Spinal Cord Injury and their families. A similar event will also take place in Dublin on the 27th of September.
For more on Spinal Injuries Ireland and the services it provides, see spinalinjuries.ie
To sign up for ‘A Day in My Wheels’ Cork or Dublin, email email@example.com or call 087 3821182. Closing date for signups is Friday 22nd September 2023.