Road Safety Week – Safety Heroes
This Road Safety Week, the theme is Road Safety Heroes and I will be celebrating the tireless work of the Support Network Officers and Peer Support Volunteers at the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), who use their connections and experience of life changing circumstances to support those who are newly injured.
Any West Wing fans out there will know the origins of this parable (which I think neatly sums of the invaluable service those at the SIA provide):
“This guy’s walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep; he can’t get out.
A doctor passes by, and the guy shouts up, “Hey you, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up “Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a friend walks by. “Hey Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?”
And the friend jumps in the hole.
Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.”
The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”
Network Support Officers and Peer Support Volunteers at the SIA throw themselves down the proverbial hole time after time, to help the newly injured figure their way out.
Network Support Officers are lynchpins in the Spinal Injuries community in the UK. They work with dedicated volunteers and trusted partners (such as BBK) to deliver vital support to SCI people, taking on personal responsibility to support those in greatest need.
Peer Support Volunteers use their experience of living with a spinal cord injury to help those who are newly injured come to terms with their injury. They really are willing to throw themselves back into the most traumatic experience of their lives to help others climb out of the most traumatic experience of theirs.
I have spoken with so many different injured people who talk with philosophical grace about the way their injury has led them to lead more fulfilling and complete life, realising what matters, rethinking who they are in the world.
In the Spinal Injuries Community so much of this positivity is wrought from the work of Support Network Officers and Peer Support Volunteers at the SIA.
No one would choose to suffer a life-changing injury… so this road safety week… do those simple things that make a difference – whether you are in a rush, travelling near or far, walking, cycling or driving, be aware of your surroundings, be visible and take your time. Take five minutes to have a look at the Think website… We could all be doing more to keep everyone safe.
But… not all accidents can be avoided and those unlucky enough to suffer are also those who are lucky enough to be graced by the incredible work of people like the Peer Support Volunteers and Support Network Officers at the SIA. True Road Safety Heroes.