The Spinal Injuries Association Gunpowder Ball 2021
There were several things that stood out as I nursed a slightly sore head this morning, running over last night’s events at the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) Gunpowder Ball 2021.
Firstly… how nice it was to bump into so many old faces… A real assortment of people I have met across my career. My favourite perhaps being my old training contract supervisor hollering at me across the room (just like old times).
Secondly…how nice it was to meet so many ‘Zoom’ faces in person and to see that people are more than just head and shoulders!
But mostly what stood out was the mid-dinner speech from Donna Tuzul from the SIA. Part way through the meal, the chat around the room was reaching a steady volume but we fell into a captivated silence as she talked about the impact of her injury on her young family’s mental health. A spiralling chain of events that culminated in her 14-year old son attempting suicide.
The amount of support available in our society for people in difficult situations is meagre. If you were to suffer a spinal cord injury that meant you couldn’t work and needed care and support, then how would your family cope?
For Donna it was the SIA who provided her with a safety net and helped her family rebuild after years of hopeless rejection by depleted public services.
For so many spinally injured people, it is the SIA that is the difference between fulfilment and desolation – the switch between despair and hope. I have heard so many people say it. I have seen it in action myself.
Donna received a standing ovation as she left the stage last night. It was well deserved. We all returned to our meals humbled and grateful to be there supporting such a wonderful organisation.