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Life saver becomes fundraiser

Find out how a life-saving act inspired Joy Derbyshire to become a fundraiser for SIA

Joy Derbyshire of Southwold, Suffolk has so far raised £440 for us after being reunited with Brian Abrams on TV in June, the man who credits her with saving his life after a cycling accident in 2013.

Brian had been cycling in Broadbottom Tameside just outside Manchester when he lost control and plunged off the side of a bridge hitting a tree and into the river below.

I heard a cry and spotted someone in the river and rushed to Brian’s assistance

Without her alerting some other passers-by who helped lift his head out of the water to save him from drowning whilst she called for help, Brian would have almost certainly died. The accident resulted in him sustaining a complete spinal cord injury that left him paraplegic and a full-time wheelchair user.

Joy meanwhile spent years wondering whether Brian had survived.  It was only by a chance encounter on social media that they managed to meet up again earlier this year when the pair were re-united on the BBC’s One show.

When Brian and I were re-united earlier this year there was a real bond that is hard to explain, and I promised him I would find a way to raise money for one of his favourite charities


Inspired by his recovery Joy set about raising funds by fulfilling a lifelong ambition to walk the Camino de Santiago, in the North West of Spain, covering 100km in just six days.

To date Joy has raised £440 but has plans to raise more for us next year by courageously taking part in a wing walk.

It’s wonderful that Joy was inspired to do this following our meeting, for such an important charity.  I congratulate her on this fantastic achievement

Brian Abrams

find out more about joy’s fundraising

More about Brian

Brian has written a great series of successful children’s books since his accident called ‘The Adventures of Grandad Wheels!’ with all the proceeds going to ourselves and Back Up.  Not content with this he also visits schools to help to educate young people about disability and break down myths.  So far more than 14,000 children and teaching staff have heard Brian speak about his experiences.

Grandad Wheels

Thank you

A massive thank you to both Joy and Brian. Their support and that of many other people who fundraise for us helps us make sure that an independent, fulfilled life is a possibility for every person affected by spinal cord injury across the UK.

This story highlights two very different ways that people are supporting us.  If you would like to find out more about how you can fundraise for us visit the Get involved section on this website.