Marathon Hand-cycle for Spinal Injuries Ireland

On July 21st 2014, aged 20, the course of my life was altered completely when I suffered a high level  cervical spinal cord injury (C5/C6) as the result of diving into shallow water whilst abroad in San Diego on a J1. The outcome of this was long term irreversible spinal cord damage, resulting in paralysis from my chest down. 

Following my accident I spent 6 months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire. This is where I was introduced to Spinal Injuries Ireland. They were my gateway back into society, brining me to the Aviva stadium for the Autumn International Guinness Series Ireland Vs Australia match, along with various trips to the IMC cinema in Dun Laoghaire giving me the confidence to engage back into society.

On Tuesday 19th May, I will be attempting to hand-cycle a Marathon (42.2km/26miles) around my local area within a 5km radius of my home using a specially adapted hybrid hand-cycle attached to my wheelchair to raise much needed funds for Spinal Injuries Ireland. 

Spinal Injuries Ireland are an essential support service for people who have sustained spinal cord injuries and their families, providing a nationwide person centred service to assist people engage fully in society following their injury. They offer a Family Outreach Programme, Peer Support Programme, Back to Work assistance, Community Outreach Team, SCI Counselling and an Activities Programme.

Like many charities, Spinal Injuries Ireland's fundraising has been completely obliterated. They rely on fundraising for 60% of their operating costs, having already made major cutbacks and cutting their annual budget by 30%. Many of their annual fundraising events have been postponed and therefore are in urgent need of donations.

For many people, isolation is a relatively new concept in the time of Coronavirus, but to a lot of  service users, isolation is an all too common fact of life.

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most debilitating injuries anyone can ever suffer. In an instant your perceived sense of freedom is snatched away from you, and simple things that you have always taken for granted, like  jumping in the car and nipping out to the shops, navigating footpaths, even opening some doors and getting through doorways can be an unwelcome, physically and mentally draining challenge, especially when you are only just learning to adapt to a new injury.

Often, this can lead people living with an SCI to slowly but surely (and completely understandably) move towards self-isolation.

According to research Spinal Injuries Ireland carried out:

Approx. 50% of people living with a SCI in Ireland suffer from social isolation
Approx. 50% suffer from severe or moderate mental stress
Approx. 25% live below the poverty line

More information can be found here; 

The cycle will consist of a mixture of the two routes shown below to add up to 42.2kms.

I'd be extremely grateful for any support and donations. Spinal Injuries Ireland do momentous work and offer huge support for people living with spinal cord injuries in Ireland. Thank you in advance for your generosity.



Jonathan Ranson

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