Lolly Mack: fighting to end paralysis

Lolly Mack: fighting to end paralysis

Lolly Mack was injured at the age of 30 in a nightclub, is an ambassador for several spinal cord injury charities in the UK, and is a member of The Cure Girls. SpinalCure caught up with Lolly to find out more about her and her story.

Your social media is such an inspiration, as is your passion to raise awareness of spinal cord injury and fight for a cure. Thanks so much for chatting to us.

You were injured by a freak accident in a nightclub when you were 30. What was it like coming to terms with your injury—and the person who jumped off the balcony and injured you?

Lolly Mack in wheelchair and red dressUntil I discovered the world of research I was extremely depressed. I was frustrated that surely there must be something I can do to help facilitate the research process. 

It took me a long time to start going out and enjoying myself and to become myself again. 

I began to practice self-care and self love. I gradually got into meditation, came off of all my medication and found myself in a much better place. I’m grateful for where I am at and also have learnt to love myself and all my imperfections too. We need a hell of a lot more representation!

People living with a spinal cord injury have literally cheated death: my motto is “celebrate life” and WE too should be celebrated AND represented in the fashion industry and media. 

As for the man who fell on me I don’t ever think about him. I don’t want that to consume my energy and have any negative thoughts. I am glad he got sent to prison. Apart from that I don’t want to look back, I just want to live my life as fully as possible. I have far too much to focus on and work hard for! 

We love that you own who you are and haven’t let the injury define you. How have you been able to do this?

During the early days of my injury it was dreadful. Very dark days, total depression and while I was in hospital it just felt like I was on a conveyor belt.

Along comes another person in a wheelchair and it was like ok so now you have to take all of this medication, dress in tracksuits and loose clothing and you can’t do this and this and this. It’s devastating enough having a spinal cord injury let alone being told what you can and can’t do and also wear! 

It took me a long time to question this and realise that after I had got home that I didn’t need all of this medication and I could wear what I want. I basically wanted to get back to doing exactly what I used to do and be who I was pre-injury. This happened after I returned home.

Being around family and friends who treat you exactly the same as before really helped me. I swerved people who looked at me with pity or sadness in their eyes. I’m still ME! I’m just living my life in a different way. 

You’re a Cure Girl and on a mission to make spinal cord injury curable…how do you fight for a cure?

We (The Cure Girls) all met online as we all share the same passion to walk again.

All of us have different levels of spinal cord injury and are in contact with all of the research centres and researchers across the world.

The way we fight for a cure is by fundraising to fund vital research taking place worldwide. I personally have raised money by doing a skydive, I’ve cycled nearly 3,000 miles on my specially adapted FES bike, I have also given up sugar, alcohol etc. and have also organised parties and events. 

We basically all do as much as we can to raise funds and raise awareness in the media and tv. You can also check out our blog too: 

Tell us about your connection to the other Cure Girls – do you work together, and how did you become a part of this? Can others join? 

We work tirelessly together most days coming up with ideas to raise awareness and to fundraise.

All of our work is done online as I am in the UK and the rest of the Cure Girls are in Italy and Brazil. Over the years we have become very close friends, I call them my soul sisters. The Cure Girls have had events in Milan, Italy and also Porto Alegre, Brazil, and of course London. We travel to attend these events and I love meeting up with the girls! 

We are always looking for new recruits! You have to be very committed and passionate about a cure for spinal cord injury, if you are interested please get in touch with me. An Australian Cure Girl would be wonderful. 

What is the most amazing research you have seen recently, which gives you the most hope?

For me, any research I see in the labs is inspiring and gives me hope. The particular charities that I fundraise in the UK for are Spinal Research and The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation. Spinal Research funds chondroitinaise research and NSIF funds research taking place in Poland using olfactory cells. Three years ago I also visited UC San Diego, Centre for Neural Repair Biomedical Research Facility to meet the team working with Mark Tuszynski and Paul Lu. 

The research along with the equipment they were using was really exciting to see. Everyone was super positive and excited which I loved. 

I’m planning to return next month for an update so stay tuned! 

I’d also be super keen to try neurostimulation, which I know SpinalCure is funding.

Let’s make chronic spinal cord injury curable!

Thanks Lolly for your time. There will be a trial site for neurostimulation in Glasgow, so stay tuned and we’ll update you when we know more.

Read more about Lolly Mack and her story.