Back Up and BBC Children in Need: A blog from our CEO Abigail Lock

A picture of Emerson, a young wheelchair user, next to a picture of our CEO abigail lock. BBC Children in Need did a short film and animation about emerson's journey

Back Up is the only charity in the UK with dedicated services for children and young people with a spinal cord injury. These young people play a key role in designing our services. We offer exciting activity courses so young wheelchair users can feel more confident and learn the wheelchair skills needed to live life to the full. We also have fantastic young volunteer mentors, who offer life-changing advice and support to recently injured children and young people. We know the best people to support children and young people are often other young people who have been there themselves.

You may have seen us featured on BBC Children in Need and Countryfile. It was also wonderful to see our hard-working Under 18s Services Manager, Ella, immortalised as a cartoon in the “Goodbye Rainclouds” animation. We worked closely with Children in Need to bring these stories to life. The most challenging part was deciding which young person to put forward for the Countryfile show. We have worked with, and supported, so many amazing families and young people all with a different story to tell. However, 5 year old Emerson’s story stood out for many reasons but particularly for his wonderful smile and enthusiasm for life, rising to the challenges he faces daily with his injury and his recovery from coronavirus this year.

Emerson, a young wheelchair user, spending some time outside. BBC Children in Need worked with us to tell his story.

We were delighted to have BBC Children in Need tell Emerson’s story

Back Up was there to support Emerson after he sustained a spinal cord injury aged just 19 months. On one of our multi-activity courses he was able to practice essential wheelchair skills while trying out fun outdoor activities like canoeing, horse riding, and rock climbing. Back Up also ensured that Emerson was fully included when he started school, our Education Inclusion service worked closely with his family and school to ensure he didn’t miss out on anything the other children could do. After all this, it was great to see Emerson brimming with confidence and energy as he took on his Countryfile challenge. Emerson was clearly the ideal team mate for Steve taking on Pen Y Fan!

Thanks to BBC Children in Need, we are able to ensure that we can be there for even more children and young people affected by spinal cord injury. By making a donation, or just by spreading the word about our work, you are helping us move towards a world where everyone affected by spinal cord injury can realise their true potential.

Can you help us support even more children and young people affected by spinal cord injury? Discover how you can get involved.