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Bucks woman raising awareness for spinal cord injuries

Carol became paralysed from the waist down after a virus in 2006

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 1:44pm 15th May 2020. (Updated at 3:12pm 15th May 2020) 3-minute read.

Bucks woman raising awareness for spinal cord injuries

Awareness is being raised as part of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day. 

Carol Barraclough from Steeple Claydon wants to raise awareness for Spine Cord Injuries (SCI) and the charities that support people who have suffered one. 

In 2006 Carol became paralysed from the T9 vertebra down, which is around the belly button. 

A virus had attacked the myelin sheath, a type of fatty tissue that protects nerve cells, surrounding her spinal cord. 

Carol and Albert

Carol explains:

"I started walking with a drop foot and excruciating back pain but the progression happened over a period of three weeks. I was in hospital for just shy of 6 months overall, culminating with my stay at Stoke Mandeville [The National Spinal Injuries Unit]. 

"My condition left me with paralysis at T9, which is a complete injury. So anything below that level I have no motor function or sense of function. If someone were rubbing my leg, without looking at my leg, I don't know they're doing that.

"I am reliant of a wheelchair full-time, but my arms are still intact so I use a manual wheel chair. I do have to manage my bowel and bladder though."

While at Stoke Mandeville carol became aware of the group Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), thanks to a stand they had.

At first Carol didn't feel the need to speak to other people with SCI however, life events like having her son meant she sought advice and support from others. 

Now, she works as Support Network Coordinator for SIA sharing advice and insight into life with other families affected. 

One goal of the group, is to bring attention to the range of causes for SCI as many people associate it with a form of trauma to the body like a car accident.

However, like Carol many people suffer the injury due to a virus, spinal strokes and more recently there has been an increase of spinal tumors following cancer:

"For me I didn't know anything about spinal cord injuries and it has really opened my eyes and the reality is it really can happen to anyone. You don't have to have had something happen to you for this to occur. People need to be aware and conscious of it because once it happens it can turn your world upside down."

During lockdown Carol and the rest of the team at SIA want to draw attention to support groups and services people can make use of online. 

Although things like rehab and group meetings may not be taking place in person, it more important than ever that people with SCI do not feel alone or helpless. 

Anybody with questions, whether the injury has happened to you or a loved one, is being urged to contact SIA to find out the current services available.

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