Joe Gadd: From service user to top Fundraiser


While working at a summer camp in the United States, Joe was involved in a horse riding accident that left him permanently paralysed from the chest down.

When he returned to England, he had an appointment at The National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville, where he noticed a Back Up poster on the wall. Immediately, Joe decided to visit Back Up’s website to find out more about our services, and he couldn’t believe what he saw.

Straight after getting in touch, Joe was matched with a mentor, who was able to help him adjust to life with spinal cord injury and regain confidence. He also went on a multi activity course in Exmoor and a skiing course.

“Back Up has given me the confidence to realise everything is possible if you put your mind to it,” he said. From using the services, Joe quickly became a volunteer and fundraiser.

In 2015, Joe took on the ultimate challenge – Snowdon Push – and pushed to the summit of the highest mountain in England and Wales. Joe’s determined attitude was shown  not only by his fundraising achievements, but also through the type of challenge he took to raise the money.

“I wanted to push my limits and do something I never thought possible and I wanted to raise money for a charity close to my heart.”

Joe sees this challenge as one of the best things he has ever done. “It’s a great feeling when you reach the top and you know that all your hard work is going to an amazing cause.”

To get donations, Joe spent many days contacting family and friends, tweeting celebrities and approaching strangers.  His determination and fundraising creativity meant he raised over £7,000 to help people affected by spinal cord injury.

Last year, Joe was in complete shock when he won Top Fundraiser at the annual Back Up Ball. “As they were leading up to saying the name I thought ‘That kind of sounds like me,’” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

In the future, he plans to do more fundraising challenges for Back Up and hopes more people with spinal cord injury get involved.

“Back Up really works to help people overcome challenges and make life as ‘normal’ as possible.”

Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? Take on Mount Snowdon to raise vital funds for Back Up

PS: Teleflex, a global provider of medical technologies designed to improve the health and quality of people’s lives, kindly sponsored this month’s newsletter. Like Joe, they also took on the Snowdon Push challenge in 2013.