: News

Reduced rates available for Spine and Spinal Disorders Conference

Professor El Masri has negotiated a reduced registration rate to the Spine and Spinal Disorders conference on the 11th & 12th of June 2018 in London. The conference will be held in the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre

London Heathrow Bath Road, Heathrow Middlesex UB7 0DU London Heathrow United Kingdom – London

Doctors in training will have a discounted registration of 100 Euros and established clinicians a discounted registration of 250 Euros

The trustees of SPIRIT have agreed to support the first fifteen doctors in training who attend the conference with a sum of £100 each to cover registration cost and some expenses. This will be paid on receipt of the proof of registration and attendance.

Unfortunately SPIRIT is unable to assist with  travel or accommodation expenses.

Those who wish to obtain this discounted registration fee please email  Ms Martina Julius at the following address: spine@neuroconferences.com and explain that you want to register with the discounted rate of 100 Euros that was agreed with Professor W El Masri 

If you encounter any difficulty please contact Professor El Masri on bellstonehse@btinternet.com

Many thanks to SPIRIT for the kind book donation

Following SPIRIT’s donation of a number of books to be Midlands Spinal Injury Centre (Oswestry), SPIRIT has received positive feedback from Mary Watkins, Specialist Psychologist Rehabilitation Practitioner at the MCSI.

Mary contacted SPIRIT to say:

I’m so grateful to SPIRIT for kindly donating the books. I have already discussed the book with one of our patients and he’s very keen to read and discuss it with his wife, so I think not only will it be educational for our patients, it will also enable them to discuss openly difficult topics that don’t readily fall into conversation.

Many thanks to SPIRIT.

Mary is pictured here with SPIRIT trustee, Jonathan Fogerty at the handing over of the books.


Earthquake in Mexico leaves people with very serious injuries no doubt including spinal cord injuries

earthquakeThe trustees of SPIRIT would like to extend their condolences to the people of Mexico. The news of the earthquake in their country is devastating.

Quite rightly after these natural disasters, the focus is on the number of people who have very sadly lost their lives.

Unfortunately, however, many people also sustain very serious injuries in these incidents and they are often overlooked.

The 2015 earthquake in Nepal rendered over 400 people instantly paralysed through spinal cord injury, (SCI).

No healthcare system in the world would be able to cater for the needs of so many SCI people instantly needing support and when such disasters happen in developing countries, it often leaves those affected with a very difficult future.

SPIRIT is a charity that supports the learning about the treatment of spinal cord injury in countries all over the world.

SPIRIT has provided grants for doctors and other healthcare professionals to travel to the UK and to learn about our spinal cord injury centre service and learn new skills.

Let us not forget the people living with spinal cord injury in countries all around the world.

To donate to SPIRIT and continue the work we do as a charity follow this link.

The Very Alternative Guide to Spinal Cord Injury

Spirit has purchased and donated to the Midlands Centre for Spinal Cord Injury (Oswestry SCIC) ten copies of The Very Alternative Guide to Spinal Cord Injury.

The book is an informative look at the ups, downs and side-ways of becoming spinal cord injured. From initial injury, to escaping hospital and beyond; the guide helps those affected by SCI survive and smile as life takes a frankly painful and hugely unexpected path.

Pictured below at the handover of the books is Spirit trustee Jonathan Fogerty with Mr Chowdhury, Clinical Director of the MCSCI and Mary Watkins, Clinical Psychologist.

Jonathan said: “I am pleased to be able to handover these books to Mr Chowdhury & Mary and on behalf of SPIRIT.”

In thanking SPIRIT, Mr Chowdhury said: “We are delighted to receive this kind donation of the books from Spirit. They will be very well used by our patients during their rehabilitation with us at Oswestry.”

If you would like to learn more about the work of SPIRIT, please look around our website or email us at info@www.spirit-charity.co.ukPastedGraphic-1

Paralysed man regains use of his arm thanks to new research into spinal injury

spirit armThe trustees of SPIRIT were very interested to learn of the research that has seen some restoration of functional arm movement to a man with complete paralysis.

Through a system of decoding brain signals and transmitting them to sensors in the arm, this has allowed Bill Kochevar (who was paralysed in a cycling accident) to regain some movement from his shoulders down into his hand and arm.

SPIRIT welcomes this type of research and it is vitally important to continue this work in the hope that one day it could potentially transform the lives of all spinal cord injured people in the future.

Although this research is a positive step forwards, SPIRIT recommend newly injured people receive the news cautiously. Until this research has being more thoroughly investigated and tried out on more people affected by spinal cord injury, we are a long way from demonstrating that this is a proven and effective treatment for spinal cord injured people.

Until such time as this is possible, SPIRIT recommends that everybody affected by spinal cord injury be they patients or family or friends should receive proper support and care in a specialist spinal injury centre and should also receive the support of other charitable organisations working in the UK to support those affected by spinal cord injury.

Participants with spinal cord injuries required for a new documentary on the milestones in a baby’s life


Sad news in the world of spinal cord injury as renowned Professor passes away

GeoffThe trustees of SPIRIT are very sad to learn that Prof Geoffrey Raisman has passed away.

Geoff had been poorly for sometime and passed away peacefully.

Geoff was chair of neural regeneration at University College London (UCL).

He was of course known for his tireless research work to find a way of regenerating the injured spinal cord. He was the lead researcher supporting Darek Fidyka, the Polish man who was stabbed and who was the subject of the Panorama programme “To Walk Again” in October 2014.

Geoff was a brilliant scientist who contributed enormously to the neurosciences. He was also a kind and caring human being and he contributed to more than one past SPIRIT Conferences. He will be missed by many.

SPIRIT sends our condolences to his family at this sad time.

Patient at Spinal Injuries Centre marries her partner at the hospital

The Spirit Trustees were delighted to learn of the wedding of Tricia Lorenz, a patient at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre (SCIC), who married her partner of four years, Steve McEntee at the centre.

Tricia, from Wrexham, has been a patient at the SCIC (based at Southport hospital) for seven months following a medical procedure in March 2016 that left her paralysed and a ventilator user.

Steve proposed to her shortly after and they were surrounded by family and friends as they said their vows.

Staff from the spinal centre where Tricia has been receiving care were also there to join in the celebrations.

The UK has 11 specialist spinal injury centres that provide lifelong care for the 1,000 newly spinal cord injured patients every year.

The centres provide specialist support and are valued highly by those who use the service.

Read more about this story here.

Disabled man wins court case after dispute with woman over wheelchair space on a bus

SPIRIT was pleased to learn that Doug Paulley has been successful in his Supreme Court case against FirstGroup Plc.

However, it is disappointing it is only a partial victory. Service providers will have to do more than ‘request’ those occupying facilities provided for people with a disability and ‘require’ that able-bodied people vacate wheelchair spaces on buses and trains or parking spaces for example at supermarkets.

Quite how far service providers will have to go however with a ‘requirement’ is not clear. Much will depend upon the attitude of the individual bus driver in charge of a bus at the time or the train manager if the incident occurs on a train.

Accessible public transport is vital to an inclusive, barrier-free society and it is essential for disabled people to engage in employment, family and social activity which is so vital to living a fulfilled life.

Dedicated wheelchair spaces on buses and trains are a crucial victory of the disability rights movement in the UK. The notion that the availability of these spaces could have been restricted to wheelchair users represented the potential rolling back of decades of hard won disability rights.

This is indeed a positive judgment ad SPIRIT welcomes this step forward and congratulates Doug for persevering with this long legal battle but we still have a long way to go in this country to achieve real equality for people with a disability.

Read more about this story here.


Man who was left paralysed after fall has his life is saved by pet dog

spirit v

Spirit trustees were interested to learn of this story of an American man who spent 20 hours lying paralysed outside his home earlier this month after recovering “amazingly” thanks in part to his dog.

The treating neurosurgeon, Chaim Colen said the man, who wished only to be identified as Bob, would likely have died if it hadn’t been for his golden retriever, which kept him warm while howling for help on New Year’s Day.

Read more about this remarkable story here.