Story

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In January 2012 I will be taking on one of my toughest challenges yet – I will be cycling 550 miles using an FES bike, covering the equivalent distances from Spinal Research HQ in Guildford to the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Unit in Glasgow.

On New Year's Day 2010 a seemingly insignificant decision turned my life upside down.  At the time I was living in Colombia, working as an English teacher in a bilingual college.  While on holiday in the Amazon jungle I dived into a deceptively shallow river, breaking my neck.

What followed could be described as the most hellish experience of my life. I was taken to a hopelessly under equipped public clinic in a village in the middle of the Colombian jungle where I spent three days there fighting for breath, before being transferred to a private hospital in Bogotá. There I was treated for my grave injuries and infections before flying back to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire two months later.  Almost two years after the accident, I now find myself in a home for disabled people near the town where I grew up, still paralysed but safe and well.

Since my accident I have been moved beyond words by the amount of support shown to me, not only by my family and close friends but also by many previously unknown to me. One unexpected source of support came from a charity I had never heard of before, but who coincidentally is based just down the road from my family home.

The work of Spinal Research has been vindicated by the recent advances made in spinal cord research, especially during the last couple of years and for the first time individuals living with a spinal cord injury have real reason to feel hopeful about the future.

That's why now more than ever funding is essential in order to continue the rapid development of understanding and knowledge about this type of injury, which has such a devastating impact on sufferers and their loved ones.   And that is why I am taking on this challenge.

Shortly after my accident I invested in a piece of equipment called a FES bike, which uses electric stimulation to contract the major muscles groups in the legs, the quads, the hamstrings and the gluteus muscles. The stimulation is programmed by a small computer which stimulates the muscles in a sequence that creates a cycling motion. Its benefits for people living with SCI are that it maintains muscle tone, preventing atrophy and also increases cardiovascular conditioning by stimulating the heart and lungs to work harder. It also has a monitor which records how far you have cycled, on a typical day I can do about 7 miles, 3 to 4 times a week. So my idea is to do a "virtual" Ride for Research on my FES bike recording my progress each week. London to Glasgow is 550 miles; having done the maths it is clear that I would not be able to complete the ride in just a couple of days and in fact it is more a matter of several months. That's a lot of cycling - but I have decided I am up for the challenge!

Please sponsor me for my Ride for Research so that one day, when a cure for paralysis is found, people who have suffered from a spinal cord injury will be able to make a full recovery and cycle from London to Glasgow for real.

Yours faithfully

Daniel Eley

www.spinal-research.org

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Updates 1

It's taken 21 weeks and lots of determination, but Dan finished his 550 mile challenge on Thursday 24th May 2012. After suffering pressure sores, he completed the final 150 miles on the hand cycle alone. Well done Dan!

28/05/12 10:46

Raising money for

Spinal Research

Spinal Research

Charity Registration No. 1151015

Spinal Research is a pioneering charity. Its aim is to find ways to repair spinal cord injury and reverse the paralysis that results from it. Based in the UK and recognised as a leader in its field, Spinal Research funds groundbreaking projects at scientific and medical institutions around the world. The next landmark is the launch of clinical trials with paralysed volunteers. These trials will test innovative treatments that could repair damage in the human spinal cord, and so restore sensation and movement.

Donations 116

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 30/07/12

£5.00

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Dan - read about your fundraising in "Round & About". Inspirational stuff.

Donation by Stephen on 06/07/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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Well done!

Donation by Lynsey Metcalfe on 05/07/12

£25.00

+ £6.25 Gift Aid

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Wonderful target - hope it goes well!

Donation by Val Staniforth on 20/06/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Thanks for your £20.00 donation Robbie!

Donation by Anonymous on 16/06/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Good on you , Dan . Jenni and John

Donation by John Hook on 12/06/12

£25.00

+ £6.25 Gift Aid

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You're an inspiration for everyone. Keep it up! Jo (The Plough Inn)

Donation by Maria Gomes on 26/05/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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Well done Dan, great to see such positivity from you! Linda

Donation by Linda Marshall on 25/05/12

£10.00

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Dan, congratulations you're nearly there, amazing achievement.

Donation by Sarah Pettyfer on 17/05/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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Congratulations Dan, keep going! Love Annie and Roger xxx

Donation by Annie Tarling on 17/05/12

£50.00

+ £12.50 Gift Aid

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Fantastic achievement Dan, keep going!!

Donation by Camilla Coope on 10/05/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Donation by Anonymous on 03/05/12

£10.00

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Dear Daniel, well done so far! We follow your progress! Don´t give up! Andrea

Donation by Andrea Weber, HASOMED on 23/04/12

£100.00

Donation by Anonymous on 14/04/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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Amazing achievement Dan :) :)

Donation by Erna Benvenuti on 09/04/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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still putting the word around Dan...

Donation by Carolyn Neogi on 05/04/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

Donation by Len Scott on 01/04/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 30/03/12

£5.00

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Donation by Anonymous on 29/03/12

£10.00

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Good luck, Dan. You're never far from my thoughts. Love, Liz

Donation by Liz York on 28/03/12

£50.00

+ £12.50 Gift Aid

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Donation by Anonymous on 26/03/12

£10.00

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Happy to help a little.

Donation by Thelma Batchelor on 26/03/12

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 26/03/12

£5.00

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Happy to support your endeavour and good luck reaching your target. Jan Light

Donation by Janice Light on 25/03/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Well done Dan all the best xx

Donation by Adrienne Wilson and Nick Morrice on 23/03/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

Donation summary

  • * Online donations£2,607.00
  • Offline donations£1,111.10
  • Text donations£40.00
  • Total raised£3,758.10
  • Gift Aid£564.25

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