Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) launched its third annual flag day called ‘Colour Me Friday’ recently with the help of RTEs Kathryn Thomas, Coldplay hero & fitness ambassador Rob O’Byrne and CEO at SII, Fiona Bolger.
The campaign seeks to raise awareness and support for people living with spinal cord injuries throughout Ireland and SII is asking people to get involved to help raise much needed funds for the services the charity provides.
Colour Me Friday will take place on Friday 6th October and on the day SII is asking everyone to wear the colour green and host a small fundraising event like a coffee morning, fitness class, or collection in aid of SII.
SII is also asking people to donate on the day via their mobile phones by texting ‘CORD’ to 50300 to donate €4.
Last year, supporters raised almost €20,000 for people living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and this year SII is hoping to surpass this amount.
- A spinal cord injury is acknowledged by the World Health Organisation as one of the most devastating and life changing injuries that a person can sustain.
- Currently in Ireland, 76% of people living with a SCI are unemployed and 40% live on or below the poverty line.
- In addition, people living with a SCI in Ireland are not automatically entitled to a medical card and SII is campaigning strongly on this issue.
RTEs Kathryn Thomas, was on hand this week to launch the SII Colour Me Friday campaign along with SII service user Rob O’Byrne.
Kathryn explained that she got involved with the campaign as she is passionate about the importance of exercise for people with spinal cord injuries. There is a huge correlation between exercise and people regaining mobility with SCIs.
She explained: “Living with a spinal cord injury is life changing and over the years I have met people living with SCIs that have shown enormous courage and strength under what sometimes seems to be unsurmountable challenges.
“Through my work in my company Pure Results Bootcamp, I am passionate about helping people to become healthier and exercise more as I am aware that through exercise people can achieve incredible things. I have seen people take huge steps towards their recovery and regain mobility they never thought possible through consistent and concentrated exercise and physiotherapy.”
Kathryn added that she would like to see as many people as possible come on board to help the Colour Me Friday campaign this year.
“I would encourage everyone to get involved with SIIs Colour Me Friday campaign and wear green on the day. It is very important that people living with spinal cord injuries have as much access and support to services that they need while on their road to recovery and SII works hard to provide these services to an often forgotten about section of our society.”
Echoing Kathryn’s sentiments is Rob O’Byrne, who people will recognise as the wheelchair crowd surfer at the recent Coldplay concert in Dublin!
Rob suffered a C5/C6 high level spinal cord injury in 2005 but he didn’t let this deter him and he now helps people living with disabilities to get back into fitness.
“Exercise is a key part of regaining mobility for people living with spinal cord injuries and it is a pleasure to work with people with different types of disabilities to help them achieve their mobility and strength goals.
“Spinal Injuries Ireland was a great support to me when I was initially injured and it was great to know they were there at the other end of the phone when I had questions about grants I needed for adaptations to my home, medical card queries and any other types of issues I came up against during my initial onset.”
Rob now helps people with all kinds of injuries get back into training from his home in Tallaght and he says that he will continue to advocate exercise as the number one form of physical recovery for spinal injury patients.
Fiona Bolger, CEO at Spinal Injuries Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be in our third year of Colour Me Friday this year and we are looking forward to getting everyone involved across the country with the campaign.
“SII supports almost 2,000 people and their families affected by spinal cord injuries. Almost 2 new families per week have to face the life-changing challenge of a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury is something that can happen to anyone at any time.
“Our main aim at SII is to empower all people with spinal cord injuries in Ireland to have access to the necessary supports and services to live a fulfilled life. There should be equal opportunities for people living with SCIs to participate in the social, economic and cultural life of the community. We hope that everyone will get behind our campaign this year to help us raise more awareness and funding for people with SCIs.”