Amanda and Jacob’s Story: Embracing challenge after a spinal cord injury

Read on to discover how Amanda and her eight-year-old son Jacob, who was born with a spinal cord injury, embraced different challenges to show Jacob that the ‘world is his oyster’.

Spinal cord injury affects the lives of everyone around the injured individual. This includes family members.

In Amanda’s case, her eight-year-old son Jacob has had a spinal cord injury since birth.

“There wasn’t any particular injury or trauma, but from a young age he wasn’t as mobile as other babies. It wasn’t until he was 18 months when he was diagnosed with a C2 level spinal cord injury.”

Amanda says that, in the early days, navigating Jacob’s injury was confusing for Amanda and her family. He has an incomplete injury, so he does have a lot of mobility – but he doesn’t have some fine motor skills.

“Everything is affected by his spinal cord injury, but he doesn’t let it hold him back.”

In the early days, Amanda learned about Back Up through Jacob’s neurologist – but it wasn’t until a couple of years later that she got in touch with us. When Jacob was just starting primary school, our education inclusion service gave an assembly at his school. This helped explain his spinal cord injury to the other children in his class.

“Jacob loved it. They explained spinal cord injury to the other kids, and let him tell his own story.”

“All his peers found it incredible to see what he could do. Back Up showed that the world is his oyster – there are no limits.”

More recently, Jacob attended our Multi Activity course. This is one of our confidence-boosting services, where people affected by spinal cord injury can try out adventurous adaptive activities. Amanda went on the course as well. She wanted to meet other parents of children with a spinal cord injury, and she wanted Jacob to meet other wheelchair users his age.

Amanda says that Jacob loved this course from the moment he arrived it was a warm, welcoming environment.

“We were surrounded by others in a similar situation – it was great to see him settle in to a community.”

“He embraced all of the activities – everything from the treasure hunt to the rock climbing, kayaking, and sailing. He has made some good friends and is eager to go again!”

Following the course, Jacob has had a real confidence boost.

“It has given him something he can look back on when he faces challenges around living with a spinal cord injury.”

“Jacob is a happy boy, but there have been times over the past year where he can get quite down. This course has proven to him that he can still tackle challenges and prove himself.”

Now, Jacob and his family are interested in getting even more involved with Back Up.

“We’d like to try mentoring soon. Jacob made a friend who found it very helpful, and as he reaches an age where he understands his injury better he may need some more support.”

“We’d love to try another Multi Activity course if we can, and we’d be interested in doing some fundraising too! I showed Jacob the Snowdon Push, and he’s desperate to try a challenge like that!”

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