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Anonymous donor takes SSIT appeal to £50,000 target
AN appeal to buy a new minibus for a charity helping to support people with spinal injuries has reached its target just two months after its launch, thanks to an anonymous donor.
The Southern Spinal Injuries Trust (SSIT), which supports Salisbury District Hospital’s Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre, launched the appeal to raise £50,000 to provide a bus to take patients on trips at the end of June.
The donor came forward to take the appeal to the target amount after reading about it in the Journal.
Charity trustee Jeremy Major said: “This is a wonderfully generous donation and we are so very grateful. The money has saved us months of fundraising and means that we can now look ahead to providing additional resources for the spinal centre and its patients.”
A member of the donor’s family was treated at the centre several years ago, prompting the generous donation.
Trips outside the spinal centre are an important part of the rehabilitation process for people with a spinal cord injury, but one of the biggest barriers facing wheelchair users is suitable transport.
The specially designed minibus will ensure that patients being cared for at the spinal centre, which cares for patients from across the region, can be safely transported to recreational activities that will complement their ongoing rehabilitation.
Wendy Slater, general manager at the centre, said: “Patients undergoing treatment following a spinal cord injury are with us for several months.
"During this time, when patients are deemed to be medically stable, they are encouraged to experience life as a wheelchair-user in realistic scenarios outside of the spinal centre environment.
“Having access to a minibus will make a real difference and I am confident that it will have a positive impact on the rehabilitation process.”
Designed in consultation with staff at the spinal centre, the new minibus will be adapted to carry four passengers in wheelchairs, with additional seating for four others. It is hoped that the minibus will be delivered to the spinal centre by the end of the year.
SSIT Trustee Annie Maw, who was a patient at the spinal centre 11 years ago, said: “Although a spinal cord injury breaks your body, you’re still the same person with normal interests and aspirations.
“Regular outings while in the spinal centre provide contact with the real world – people and places – and these can be deeply restorative and reassuring.”
For more information on SSIT go to ssit.org.uk.
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