Liz’s story: Finding light at the end of the tunnel

Liz sitting on her wheelchair in her home. She is smiling and looking at the camera

After Syringomyelia caused Liz to sustain a spinal cord injury, she had an operation on her spine in 2018. Her son moved out of home to go to university, but she always had Torrez, her ginger cat, as constant company!

“I like to keep myself busy with art, TV and getting out in the garden,” says Liz.

“Before my operation and pre-Covid, I was in art school. I’ve now found lots of interesting art courses online, which I’m really enjoying. It’s like having my own tutor! Sometimes I do collage, and sometimes painting. I’m always getting parcels through the front door with new art supplies.”

I felt like there was no support out there

“After my spinal injury, I felt really alone.”

“But a few months ago, I read Sophie Morgan’s book – Driving Forwards – where she mentioned the impact Back Up had on her. So I reached out to Back Up and see what support was available. I hoped perhaps I could benefit from the community of others affected by a spinal injury.”

Liz signed up for Back Up’s ‘What Next?’ course. This free online course supports people who have recently sustained a spinal cord injury. Through a combination of live Q&A sessions and workshops, you’ll learn more about spinal cord injury, how to move forwards and set goals with others who know what you’re going through.

“We listened to other people talk and share how they were feeling. To have the opportunity to learn from others was just so useful.”

“One of the best things was listening to the psychologist – she said all the things I was thinking. It was like a light switch being turned on.”

“Knowing that what I was thinking and feeling was normal was such a relief.”

Now I know what’s possible after a spinal cord injury

Every spinal cord injury is as unique as the person who sustained it. So, Liz decided to pick and choose which sessions she felt would be most beneficial to her, and prioritised those.

“I loved the sessions I attended. I felt like there was finally a light at the end of this tunnel – there were possibilities again. It was so positive.”

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to travel again, but now I know it’s possible. There were other people in similar situations to me, and they were travelling. I’ve put together a plan now with my PA (personal assistant) to travel again.”

“In fact, I’m going on the ‘Next Steps’ course in August,” says Liz.

People joining the course will spend a long weekend in Bath, Somerset. The group leaders and skills trainers will help people improve their confidence and cover life skills like using public transport to get around a busy city.

“I’m going with an open mind. It’s scary to come out of my comfort zone, but I’m looking forward to it!”

“For a long time, I felt there was no support out there – and it was horrible. Today, I have an immense feeling: I’ve got Back Up now.”

Want to learn more about adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury? Check out our wide selection of life-changing courses and apply today.