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Double your donation today!

BIG Give Christmas Challenge Banner Image 2023 with double your donation text in bauble

For one week only, your gift is worth TWICE as much, at no extra cost to you, when you DOUBLE your donation through The Big Give Christmas Challenge.

Peta’s story

Help us to support people like Peta to rebuild a life after spinal cord injury.

“Dancing was my thing. I discovered it aged six and decided, aged 13, I’d make a career from it. By my 20s I was teaching abroad, then I bought my boss’ dance school from her when she retired. I was literally living my dream. A dance teacher with my own business, happily married and mum to twins.

Until the bomb fell and (as journalist Melanie Reid puts it) ‘the world fell out of my bottom’.”

Spinal cord injury shatters lives. Your £30 today – worth £60 thanks to The Big Give – could make sure people like Peta get the support they need to rebuild their lives.

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I was in such a bad place – traumatised and confused. I didn’t know where my life was going or how I would continue it

“I severed my spinal cord at T10 when I fell out of our loft. It’s left me paralysed from the waist down. In hospital, I remember feeling surprisingly upbeat and ‘you can do this’ about it. But nothing prepares you for the shock of life with a spinal cord injury. By the time I started rehab, I was crying enough tears to fill a river. I was in such a bad place – traumatised and confused. I didn’t know where my life was going or how I would continue it.

To be able to talk to another person with spinal cord injury was just priceless

“But it was during my rehab that I first bumped into Carol, SIA’s support network manager for the South. I really liked her and connected with her straight away. To be able to talk to another person with spinal cord injury was just priceless. At the same time, unbeknownst to me, my husband was also talking to Carol. Not just about the practical stuff: how we could adapt our home, what should I look for in a wheelchair, etc. – but about life generally And the message was – loud and clear – that life would be very different, but it was far from over. We both took huge comfort from our chats with Carol.”

Spinal cord injury affects the whole family – our counselling service is there for everyone.

“After a few months, I was discharged. Time to get back to my life and my vocation. But from the start, being back at work just felt all wrong. Like a hand in a wrong-sized glove. It was the teaching I loved – and I couldn’t do it anymore. Just more and more admin, which I hated. I soldiered on for three years. But eventually I sold my beloved dance school. I felt bereft.

I was back in that black hole – hating

“I talked to Carol about how I felt. I’d kept in touch with her, asking her about everything from skiing to driving with paraplegia. She suggested a volunteer role with SIA, helping newly injured people the way she’d helped me…


SIA support coordinator Peta visiting spinal injured patient in hospital setting“I’ve been volunteering for two years, and I absolutely LOVE it! Every week I wake up and think ‘hurray, it’s Wednesday’, get my SIA uniform on, and off I drive to make a difference.

“I might be referring someone to SIA’s legal and financial partners, or I might just be holding someone’s hand and helping them grieve. Because you’ve lost yourself – you’ve got to reinvent yourself. And I know what that’s like. It’s bloody difficult. Finding a new you where you can go on to enjoy life again.



For me, it’s 100% my volunteering with SIA that’s allowed me to move on

“I love my life now as much as I did before my injury. My confidence has grown so much, I’ve had so many adventures, and I’m me again. I go to the theatre, teach wheelchair dancing, go skiing, and have even been on safari.

“I feel fulfilled, knowing I’m helping people lay the foundations to their fulfilled lives.  Whether it’s emotional support, practical advice or advocating for someone who needs help.

Your gift of £30 could provide advice and support from someone with lived experience of spinal cord injury. If you can, please DOUBLE your donation with The Big Give this Christmas or give what you can using the donation slip below and make sure more people get the chance to rebuild their lives after spinal cord injury.

click here to double your donation

We’re so grateful for anything you can spare in the run up to Christmas. The Big Give is a great way to make your generous gift go further.