During my nine years’ involvement with Aspire, I have learnt two things above all others about this charity; that its essential ‘can-do’ message to people who sustain spinal cord injuries is a positive and empowering one, and that it works.
Hosting Aspire’s Sports Quiz Dinner, an annual fund-raising event the Charity organises at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, I have had the opportunity to meet and listen to many remarkable individuals who, following a spinal cord injury and with Aspire’s help, have gone on to achieve remarkable things – sailing single-handed round Britain, breaking world land speed records, winning Paralympic medals. But just as clear in my memory are the faces and stories of those individuals whose achievements following injury have been less headline-grabbing but just as significant – men and women who have achieved the goal they set themselves, whether it be to go back to the job they have always loved, or to support their families practically, emotionally and financially, or to change careers and find something that really satisfies them, or to marry and have children. In short, they’ve achieved all the aspirations that we all have and which, they tell me, seem suddenly out of reach in that moment when you wake up to find yourself in a Spinal Injury Centre.
This book of personal stories brings all those conversations back to me. What follows is both an inspiration and a testament to the determination of the individuals concerned