Sophie Tandy at work

Sophie Tandy, from Gloucester, is challenging herself to spend 30 hours in a wheelchair to raise awareness of people who are paralysed and the work of leading spinal cord charity, Back Up.

Back Up helps thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds rebuild their confidence and independence after a spinal cord injury. There are estimated to be 40,000 people affected by spinal cord injury in the UK today.

The 25-year-old works at Wellspect Healthscare, a local company that supports Back Up’s life-changing courses. In September 2015, Wellspect gave Tandy the opportunity to volunteer on a Back Up course in Belfast.

During the course, Tandy supported people who are paralysed to improve their everyday skills, such as using public transport. She also spent one day pushing around the city in a wheelchair.

“It was scary, tiring and at times frustrating,” Tandy said. “But it also gave me a whole new perspective on how people live their lives when they have no choice but to use a wheelchair.”

After the volunteering experience, Tandy wanted to do more for people affected by spinal cord injury. She decided to challenge herself by spending 30 hours in a wheelchair on February 1st, the day Back Up celebrates its 30thanniversary.

“I though it would be a great way to fundraise and raise awareness for Back Up and also educate other non-disabled people on the challenges wheelchair users face,” Tandy said.

 “The support and commitment we have from people like Sophie is vital, as it allows us to continue support more people when they need us the most,” Louise Wright, Back Up’s CEO, said.

Back Up offers wheelchair skills training, mentoring service and rehabilitative activity courses that are all run by people affected by spinal cord injury themselves. They also support people to overcome the challenges of returning to work or school.

So far, Tandy has raised £630 for Back Up but has plans to raise even more. You can sponsor her here:http://bit.ly/23timKA

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

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