World Spinal Cord Injury Day | Luke’s story

Awareness Day

Luke at home, sitting in his garden

For World Spinal Cord Injury Day this year, we’re proposing a theme of #YesWeCan to mark the achievements of people with a spinal cord injury, big and small. It could be taking that first holiday post injury, going to the shops independently, or a gold medal at Tokyo – whatever the achievement is, they’re all important and we want to celebrate them.

We spoke to Luke, one of our fantastic about young volunteers, about his #YesWeCan moment.

How have you been involved with Back Up?

I have been involved with Back Up since 2016. I attended a train-the-trainer course in Coventry where I was the only under 18 person on an adult course. I learned not only how to get myself up, ready and organised every morning but how to interact in an adult environment and how to communicate instructions effectively.

I have since volunteered on an under 13s wheelchair skills course in Exmoor this summer, encouraging under 13 year olds how to use their wheelchair doing basic and advanced stuff too. I went on an U18s course this summer too and I learned lots and made loads of friends. I loved this course and I’m still in touch with friends I made on it. This course has been the highlight of my whole year!!!

Tom making a campfire with friends on the 13-17s multi-activity course

What have you gained from being involved with Back Up?

Back Up has given me opportunities to increase my confidence in both my wheelchair skills and my abilities as a trainer – enabling me to teach others vital wheelchair skills that they’ll use in everyday life.

Back Up has been brilliant, I love being part of such a fantastic charity.

What have you achieved since your involvement with Back Up? What’s your #YesWeCan triumph?

During the under 13s wheelchair skills course in Exmoor this year, I realised that I have skills and abilities to teach others many things including wheelchair basketball sessions, basic and more advanced wheelchair skills but most importantly I realised that I can do more than I thought I could. Back up has given me the opportunity to coach a wheelchair basketball session for a group of under 13s plus their parents. I didn’t realise this was something that I was capable of doing on my own. I surprised myself and gained so much confidence from this experience. I loved every second and I think the kids did too!!

Tom leading a wheelchair skills session

What is life like now?

I’m growing in confidence as I get older and about to embark on a college course. I have had opportunities and experiences that I feel privileged to have taken part in. Back Up have made a huge difference to me and I hope that I can continue to be a part of their courses as a participant and a wheelchair skills trainer.

Do you have any goals or things you want to achieve in your future?

A. I want to complete my college course and go to University. I want to learn how to drive. I want to increase my circle of friends and travel the world.

If you’d like to share your stories, join the conversation on social media. Tweet us @backuptrust or tag our Facebook page using #YesWeCan and #WorldSCIDay and let us know about all your achievements, big and small.