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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Loughborough study of spinal injury patients in care homes to be presented to Parliament

Aspire was lucky enough to be invited to Speaker's House to talk about our Housing Programme. We are undertaking research with Loughborough University to look at the effects on an individual with spinal cord injury of being moved into a Care Home on discharge from rehab. Read more about the research and the event by clicking on the link.

Loughborough study of spinal injury patients in care homes to be presented to Parliament

Friday, 16 March 2012

2011: A broken back. 2012: Fighting back. A 220 mile run in 8 days.

We are Vicky and Anna - two young ladies from Surrey who have decided to take on the epic challenge of running from Paris to London (including Paris and London official marathons) in April. We’ve chosen to fundraise for Aspire because Vicky narrowly avoided a spinal cord injury in February last year when she was hit by a falling rock whilst rock climbing in Patagonia. She was really lucky to survive, let alone be walking and now running, so in true Anna and Vicky fashion we’ve decided to go all out and organise this event ourselves. Our aim is to raise £5,000 for Aspire and Back Up, both UK spinal injury charities, and in so doing, inspire others to do something they never thought possible. Because, in all honesty, last year neither of us would have dreamt we’d be undertaking the challenge of a lifetime now!

So far we’ve had to overcome many obstacles – unsurprisingly injury has been our most worrying problem but that’s what you get for training for a marathon, let alone 8. We’ve booked our accommodation and worked out the logistics and now just have to hope that everything else goes to plan. We’re really lucky that we have a group of kind friends who will be supporting us on route. That said, if you happen to live between Paris and London (via Dieppe, Newhaven, Gatwick and Croydon) then please come out and support us. We’ll be posting regularly on our website and twitter so everyone will be able to keep up with our progress.

We’re making great progress with fundraising and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people. We are currently at £3849.50, so still a way to go, but with a month before the challenge we’re confident we can fulfil our pledge to Aspire and Back Up. If you’d like to help us reach our target you can make a donation here.

Thank you in advance for your support with our challenge. If you’d like to get in touch with any questions/running tips/fundraising advice then please do so via our website.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sophie and Sarah's Channel Swim: Team Hoodies are here!

We're loving Sarah and Sophie's Channel Swim Kit! Check out their blog post for photos!

Sophie and Sarah's Channel Swim: Team Hoodies are here!: Our amazing team hoodies have arrived - don't they look fantastic?! We are definitely going to be the best dressed team at the first traini...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Aspire aquires two new houses!

Alex Rankin, Director of Services, blogs about the two new houses we've aquired from The Midland Heart Housing Association.

Aspire research with some of the UK’s Spinal Injury Centres shows that 20% of patients are discharged from hospital into nursing homes. In most cases, this is simply because an accessible property isn’t ready for them. Still more go to homes that have yet to be adapted, whilst others end up using hotels or staying with friends and family. In our research, only 11% of patients left hospital and moved straight to a suitable, accessible home.
The Aspire Housing Programme exists because of this situation. There’s clearly huge demand for the Service, so we’re delighted that Midland Heart Housing Association has just offered to provide us with two new properties. Brian Carlin, Aspire’s Chief Executive, signed the management agreements on the properties in Coventry and Leicester last week, and our specialist builders are already gearing up to install the accessible wetrooms and kitchens.
Whilst both new properties will be invaluable, we’re especially excited about the one in Leicester; not only is it our first in the city, but it’s also the first ever Aspire house on two floors. Historically, the high cost of internal lifts meant that we shied away from properties that needed them, both to save the Charity money and so that what our tenants lived with was what they were likely to have in their own homes. But lift prices have fallen, and so when Midland Heart found us this house – and kindly offered to maintain the lift for us – it was too good an opportunity to miss.

These new Aspire houses will be ready for their first tenants later this month and we’re looking forward to them moving in. Over the coming years, dozens of individuals, and their families, will directly benefit from this partnership between Aspire and Midland Heart.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Meet Sheikh and read how Aspire helped fund rollers for his racing chair!

My name is Sheikh and I have recently been funded £895 from Aspire Grants to buy rollers for my racing wheelchair. I am very grateful for the money and I am writing to express thanks and also to tell you a little bit about what I have been doing over the past few months.
Last year I competed in the London Mini Marathon in April and won the race in a time of 12.41 which is 10 seconds away from the course record set by Daniel Lucker. I found that this was possible due to a new chair and training nearly every day, as I knocked off 3 minutes exactly from last year's time. I was awarded a trophy by Sir Richard Branson and later on recieved my Flip video camera, which was awarded to the winners of the age groups.
After competing in the Marathon I was not done yet as the next weekend I travelled to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where I took part in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500m races in the Inter Spinal Unit Games. I set personal bests in all my events! At the end of the day everyone was very pleased with my performance, especially my coaches, as they noticed a very big improvement since I have been training more often and as my new racing chair has made a huge difference.
After racing in Stoke Mandeville I had to travel to Knowsley in Liverpool where I was racing over the weekend. There were athletes from all over the world and it was a very tough competition. I participated in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500m and I set some personal bests in the 200m and 400m. Unfortunately I was disqualified in the 400m as my wheel touched the lane marking. 

I also went to Switzerland to compete, which was a once in a lifetime experience. I witnessed what it takes to be at the top of your game in wheelchair racing and it was very exciting. I raced  in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 4x400m relay for Team GB. In my races I broke two personal bests in the 100 and 200m but in the 400 and 800m my times were 2 to 3 seconds off my personal best.  I won my 100, 200 and 400m races and I came third in the 800m, which is still good considering that I was racing against athletes from all over the world!

Most of all I enjoyed the 4x400m relay as in our team we had Mickey Bushell, Daniel Lucker and William Smith. We managed to come fourth which was fantastic as we were racing against adults from Australia, Canada, Germany and Thailand. I was really pleased with myself as I was the last one racing in the group and I was against Marc Schmiking who is a very fast German racer but it took him 200m from the start to catch up to me and when he crossed the line in front of me he was only 5-7m ahead which I was surprised at - I pushed really fast!

I would like to say 'thank you' to Aspire for helping me to purchase my rollers and I will update you soon with more of my races!