Why Lillie and Jonathan are taking on the Spinal Circuit in March 2022!

People across the UK are taking part in the Spinal Circuit for all different reasons. For some, it’s about taking the opportunity to challenge themselves. For others, they’re keen to get outside to promote their own wellbeing. And for many, it’s about becoming part of a new community.

We spoke to two of our brilliant supporters, Lillie and Jonathan, about why they’re taking on the challenge this March.

Lillie’s Story

Lillie is a member of the Back Up Youth Advisory Group and long-time supporter. Lillie first took part in the Spinal Circuit in 2021, and is choosing to fundraise for Back Up again this year.

“I have a L1-L2 spinal cord injury and use a wheelchair, and sometimes use crutches, when I’m out and about. I’m one of the Youth Advisors at Back Up. I’ve had fantastic support from the educational team who helped me get back into school after my injury. This is why I wanted to do Back Up’s Spinal Circuit challenge – to raise money and say thank you to everyone at Back Up for helping me.”

For Lillie, the Spinal Circuit was integral to increasing her confidence and independence.

“The best part of doing the Spinal Circuit was it gave me more confidence to go outside in my wheelchair.”

Last year, Lillie found the Spinal Circuit challenge motivated her to get moving outside.

“I would recommend doing the Spinal Circuit because it gives you a goal, gets you exercising outside, and you have fun – especially when you do it with someone.”

Jonathan’s Story

Our second supporter is wheelchair rugby player for Team GB, Jonathan Coggan, who won a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. This is Jonathan’s first time taking on the Spinal Circuit challenge.

“When Back Up asked me to get involved with the Spinal Circuit challenge, I thought here’s my chance to, in some way, give back after they helped me not long after my injury. I went on a Multi Activity course in Keswick – we’re talking 2001 when I was just 17 years old. It was many moons ago now, but no less important or valuable to this day.”

“The Multi Activity course gave me the confidence to try new things. It gave me the belief that I could be independent away from a hospital ward and my ‘new’ bedroom at home (the previously well-used family dining room). I also got the opportunity to meet people in similar situations to myself.”

“Some would say I’ve been extremely active since then. I’ve participated in five Paralympic Games and last year returned from Tokyo with a gold medal in the sport I love, wheelchair rugby.”

As an athlete, Jonathan understands how physical challenges, like the Spinal Circuit, can boost strength, independence, and motivation.

“Giving ourselves targets and goals to aim for, big or small, brings an unrivalled sense of inner satisfaction that we can use to promote happiness and motivation. Not forgetting the other benefits that accompany health and fitness.”

“I encourage you to join Back Up’s Spinal Circuit challenge this March to help lead ourselves to greater levels of physical activity. Plus, you’ll also be raising money for those who’ve already benefitted from Back Up, like myself, and for those who’ve yet to receive the support the charity offers.”

So, if you’re looking to increase your confidence, meet new friends, and enjoy all of the benefits of health and fitness, join Lillie and Jonathan and sign up to the Spinal Circuit challenge today!