SCI community ‘hopeful’ after NSW govt $15m funding announcement

We were honoured to attend to the NSW Treasurer’s Budget speech on Tuesday, and listen to his inspiring words as he announced a $15 million investment into spinal cord injury research. 

NSW Treasurer the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP announced  “a new investment in cutting edge spinal research – to one day help people who were told they would never walk, take their first steps”.

“We hope, Mr Speaker, that our 15 million dollars in funding for spinal cord injury research also leads to a brighter future for people with a spinal cord injury, possibly bringing us a little closer to a cure,” the Treasurer announced.

SpinalCure’s CEO Duncan Wallace was honoured to have been invited, along with SpinalCure Ambassador Sam Bloom and our guest, Christine Tink, President of SCIA, to be on the floor of the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly for the Budget Speech.

“We are fortunate to have many guests here today,” said the Treasurer, “representing the thousands of Australians who live with a spinal cord injury. Among them, is Sam Bloom, who many of you know for the best-selling book ‘Penguin Bloom’”.

SpinalCure Ambassador Sam Bloom was mentioned in Treasurer Perrottet’s speech for inspiring Australians ‘with her determination to find new purpose and new meaning’ after her spinal cord injury.

“Sam embodies triumph over adversity. Her whole world was shattered by spinal cord injury, suffered during a fall.

“By sharing her story, she has courageously given us all an insight into the devastation people with a spinal cord injury experience, as well as their loved ones. The sense of hopelessness and frustration at the lack of their once active life,” continued the Treasurer.

“But she also inspires with her determination to find new purpose and new meaning, clocking up some impressive sporting achievements like gold and bronze at last year’s World Adaptive Swimming and Surf Championships,” added the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP.

For Sam, this announcement felt like a breakthrough, after devoting a lot of her time to the spinal cord injury research cause.

“This means so much to everyone with a spinal cord injury living in NSW. It is great the Government finally recognises and values quality of life for people like me who live with an injury,” she said.

“We constantly live in hope for a cure and now thanks to the government’s generous support, we are closer than ever”, added Sam Bloom.

Read more: SpinalCure applauds NSW Govt’s investment in spinal cord injury research

The announcement meant a lot for other people who joined us on the day to mark this achievement.

For SCIA President Christine Tink, the announcement “could be the breakthrough we needed”.

“It has been just a small trickle of money so far but there are bigger and better things to come”.

David Murray, ex-President of Surf Life Saving NSW, says through his career, he has seen several Australians suffer spinal cord injuries at the beach.

“We have numerous people who hurt their necks on the beaches and normally what goes through people’s minds is the possibility of not being able to walk or work for the rest of their lives. This announcement gives them reason to hope”.

Tony Crisafi, CEO of the NSW Jockeys’ Association, said spinal injuries are not uncommon for jockeys, and for some jockeys, they are life-changing.

“We have 200 jockeys and apprentices in NSW and sadly falls and serious injuries do occur. Over the past nine months we have had two jockeys become quadriplegic, both with young families. On 8th June we had a champion jockey, Corey Brown come within millimetres of having similar injuries. On behalf of the jockey community in NSW we are so grateful to Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the State Government for announcing a $15 million grant towards spinal research and we hope, like everyone else in the community, that a cure for spinal injury happens sooner rather than later”.

SpinalCure CEO Duncan Wallace says SpinalCure is “extremely grateful that the Government realises how important this funding is right now. There are exciting developments happening here in Australia and globally and we want to ensure that Australians can benefit as soon as possible from breakthrough research.”

“The more funding we can get to the scientists, the faster our goal of a cure will come” Duncan Wallace added.

Joanna Knott, Co-founder and Chair of SpinalCure says investing in research is the only hope for people with a spinal cord injury.

“The funding is a great initiative and hopefully will help us attract further funds and get urgently needed trials started soon”.  

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to life-changing research today – please visit www.spinalcure.org.au/donate.

SCI community ‘hopeful’ after NSW govt $15m funding announcement