Ben Cook, one of our course participants appeared on Children in Need, to highlight how grants to Back Up have really helped transform his life, as well as those of other young people with a spinal cord injury.
Ben was first paralysed in 2007 when he was struck down with a virus in the spine. After two years of retraining himself how to walk again, the virus came back in 2009 - only this time it removed the use of his arms and legs.
Ben was just 14 and just in the middle of doing his GCSE's. It couldn’t have been a worse time. As Ben says:
“When I was paralysed the first time I coped okay. I was determined to beat it, so spent two years retraining myself to walk again. When the virus came back it felt like the last two years were for nothing, so I got really depressed and hid away from people for three months solid”.
"I was doing some physio rehabilitation at the Stoke Mandeville spinal centre when Stuart, from Back Up’s outreach & support team came up to me and started telling me all about the different services that Back Up offered. One of the courses really interested me, but I was anxious about going somewhere new and having to meet new people”
Despite this, Ben plucked up the courage to go and was really glad that he went:
“The course was beyond fantastic, and the people I met were amazing and inspirational. Everyone - buddies, leaders, nurses and the other course participants gelled together by the first day. Some of us have already arranged to meet up again very soon.
“ I can honestly say the course has changed my life for the better. It has given me a better quality of life knowing I can do so much more than I ever thought, I don't have to hide away anymore and know that I can do the same as everyone else - just in a slightly different way”.
Ben is now regularly involved with Back Up as a Youth Advisory Member & a Group Leader too!
Ben took part in a video for Children in Need which was introduced by Olympic diver, Tom Daley. He was also interviewed in the studio.