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Alasdair Robertson avatar
Alasdair Robertson

Alasdair's Back On Track - 3 Peaks Challenge On Foot

Fundraising for Spinal Research

80 %
£4,034.16
raised of £5,000 target
by 120 supporters
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Spinal Research

We fund life changing research to change the future of spinal cord injury

Charity Registration No. 1151015

Story

Hello! My name is Alasdair and I'm a climber and hiker. Nearly three years ago, not long after graduating from university, I was climbing with a partner in the Avon Gorge. A miscommunication meant that, while I thought I was safely tied into a rope, the other end was in fact not attached to anything. About 12m up a small stumble turned into an all-out fall and I hit the ground feet-first, breaking my left foot, my right ankle, and shattering one of my vertebrae.

After being rushed to hospital, they scanned me and told me I had been unbelievably lucky. Despite shards of bone poking into my spinal column, I had suffered no nerve damage. They operated on my back the next day and two weeks later, I was discharged home.

With both feet out of action and a slowly healing back, I was consigned to bed or a wheelchair for about a month. While that time dragged on for me as a slow flood of uncertainty, pain and frustration, I knew it was only a glimpse of a life I had narrowly and by the purest luck avoided. I gained a little bit of understanding of the hardships people suffering from spinal damage face every day.

My experience has motivated me to support the work of Spinal Research in the hope that our understanding of spinal injuries continues to develop and more and more people are able to recover.

My aim is to climb the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland - Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. A popular challenge is to climb these in under 24 hours using a car to travel between them, but I'm going to need a bit more time since I'm going to be travelling on foot the whole way! I am hoping to complete this in four weeks, carrying everything I need with me. I start at Snowdon on the 21st of September.

I felt this would be a fitting challenge because it was my love of mountains that led me into hiking and climbing, which in turn led to my injury. For a time I faced uncertainty about whether I would be able to do this kind of thing again, but now I'm back!

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You can find a more in-depth account of my accident and what I learned from it as a climber on the University of Bristol Expeditions Society Blog here: 

https://www.ubes.co.uk/2018/07/08/the-fallen-angle-lessons-from-a-climb-gone-wrong/

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Spinal Research is the UK’s leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop effective treatments for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. Every year 1,000 people in the UK and Ireland are paralysed following an injury to their spinal cord. We receive no government funding and rely entirely on the support of the public to raise funds for our research. Because of the efforts of our supporters, we have funded innovative medical research that has achieved a number of ground breaking changes in the field.

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