Every eight hours someone somewhere in the UK or Ireland becomes paralysed.
For the vast majority of people, the idea of becoming paralysed is synonymous with hearing the news that you may never walk again and brings to mind the undoubtedly immense psychological impact that would have.
However, whilst this alone is of course life changing, it is by no means where the implications of a spinal cord injury start or finish. Depending on the severity and the level at which damage occurs, spinal cord injuries can affect all manner of basic bodily functions we otherwise take for granted whether it is temperature regulation, bowel and bladder control or even the ability to breathe independently.
Support and assistance is vital when facing such overwhelming changes. As spinal injury solicitors we are to help the relatively small number of people who become paralysed as a result of negligence to access the support, services and equipment that can make such a difference to them and to their families. However, for the majority of those who hear that they have become paralysed, it is the tireless and devoted support of family and friends along with the invaluable work of charities such as the Spinal Injuries Association that ensures they can look forward to a bright and positive future.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day is therefore not only about raising awareness of the 40,000 or so people in the UK and Ireland who have a spinal cord injury; it is about understanding and supporting the ways in which those people can and do overcome trauma and difficulties to live happy, full and active lives.
Please take a moment to show your support for people with Spinal Cord Injuries and their families by tweeting #ShoutoutforSIA and by participating in the social media thunderclap which will take place at 4.30pm today. This thunderclap will also highlight the launch of SIAs new DVD resource, Talking spinal cord injury: the family perspective, which explores how family members are affected by spinal cord injury.
All you need to do to join the thunderclap via Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr is click on this link before 4:30pm, select the social media option of your choice, then add your support and share it with all your friends.
Catherine Bell is a senior solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp and specialises in clinical negligence claims. Catherine has years of experience of acting for seriously injured clients.