Sam’s story: Taking on Parallel London for Back Up

Challenge, Children and young people

An accident during a rugby match left 10-year-old Samuel – also known as Sam – with minimal feeling and movement in his legs. The injury turned his life upside down. But Back Up was there to help when he needed the most.

After ten weeks in hospital, Sam was ready to come home and go back to school. His school was very supportive and they even encouraged him to return one morning a week as his condition improved.


Lucy, a Back Up school advocate, visited Sam’s school to explain to his friends what it meant to live with a spinal cord injury. She also met with staff and helped them to make Sam feel included in school activities.

Sam said:

“Lucy told the students to ask before helping me, which is great because I would rather be independent. Before they would open doors for me, but I can open them myself. It’s helpful but I don’t want people doing stuff for me.”

Since receiving support from our School Inclusion service, Sam has also attended a Youth Advisory Group weekend, where he first heard about Parallel London, a fully inclusive and accessible event for people of all abilities.

The event aims to help influence positive attitudes and understanding of disability, as well as highlighting the importance of fitness and encourage more active lifestyle.

In September this year, Sam and his family will participate in the event, which is taking place in London’s Olympic Park.

Ali would like to see more events like Parallel London happening all over the country. She explained:

“Just because you are in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you don’t want to be part of and fully included in events like this”.

Katherine, Back Up’s Community Fundraiser, sees Parallel London as a great opportunity for both individual runners and families to take on a different and rewarding challenge.

She said: “It’s going to be an amazing experience for everyone involved and I hope Sam and his family will inspire you to join our team next year.”

Inspired by Sam’s story? Why not take on a challenge of your own?