Stephen’s Story: Finding empathy and understanding in the spinal cord injury community

Stephen looking at climbing wall

Read on for Stephen’s story, featured in our 2021 impact report, to see how he challenged his perceptions of what’s possible and found an empathetic community through the Back Up Lounge.

I wouldn’t say I was isolated during the pandemic, but The Back Up Lounge was something I looked forward to during lockdown. We couldn’t see people for weeks on end, so the Lounge really helped me connect with others. It’s been very positive for a lot of people with a spinal cord injury.

I attend the walker’s lounge. It’s an open forum where no topic is off limits. We share solutions and tips about problems we are facing, such as pain, medication, and exercise. It can be light-hearted too. We share pictures and stories, showing what can be done after spinal cord injury. It’s good to show that you can still push boundaries.

There are certain sides to my health that you can’t see. When you can walk with a spinal cord injury it can be tricky to explain things like dexterity and bladder and bowel management to people who don’t understand. That’s why it’s good to have the Back Up Lounge – it means you can share experiences with others. You get a lot of empathy and understanding out of it.

As well as The Back Up Lounge, I volunteered on What Next? – Back Up’s first online course. I spoke about pain management and walking after spinal cord injury. These new virtual services have been easy to use. I think Back Up has done a really good job switching to digital.

Face-to-face services are good, but the digital offerings have been a great substitute. I hope they continue in the future – having people all over the country getting together online is fantastic.

Under the circumstances, Back Up has been marvellous. They have put in so much effort to support people during the pandemic. I can’t fault them.

“Back Up can help you understand that life goes on after spinal cord injury”

Check out our full impact report and discover how we transform lives affected by spinal cord injury.