Matthew raised almost £4,300 through his Your Fund and was able to purchase a double profiling bed so he no longer has to sleep on a single hospital bed and so his partner can stay over.

In 2011, when I was 19, I went away on holiday to a beautiful part of Wales called Broad Haven, a pretty little coastal town. The skies were blue and it was a perfect afternoon for a quick dip in the ocean. I put on my bright pink shorts and made my way to beach. No one could've imagined what would happen next....

As I ran into the sea I thought “ooh this is cold” and dived head first into a wave.  At that moment I felt my head hit the sea bed, a slight sand bank.  I was paralysed instantly and felt like I was in a washing machine. Fortunately, I wasn't knocked out and held my breath for as long as I could. I have never been so afraid in my life.

Luckily, my bright pink shorts were spotted and I was pulled to safety. When I reached hospital, I was told that I had broken my neck at a C5 level, leaving me with impairment in all four limbs, and that I would need to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

After 10 months in rehab I was discharged and had to learn how to live an independent life, and how to cope following a devastating injury.  My whole life turned upside down. Nevertheless, bit by bit I have learnt how to overcome and become stronger.

Having the right equipment is key to living an independent life, but such equipment can be very expensive.

I have worked as an Aspire Independent Living Advisor for five years, working with newly injured patients in hospital.  I took the role so I could be a positive role model to patients and show them that there is life after a spinal cord injury.  I enjoy watching patients progress and get stronger, overcoming their injury and not giving up. 

Matthew as an Independent Living Advisor

That’s how I knew about Aspire’s Your Fund.  I had been sleeping in a single bed provided by the hospital and really needed more space to stretch out.  To move on in my journey to independence I wanted a double profiling bed.  So, with Aspire’s help, I set up a Your Fund so that I could try and call on my friends and family to help raise money for the bed. 

Knowing that a percentage of the money goes back to Aspire, to help them support people with a Spinal Cord Injury, was a massive plus.

My JustGiving page was easy to set up and share around, and the £4,000 I needed for the bed was raised quickly.  To get donations, I asked my friends and family and asked people to share my JustGiving page on Facebook.

It’s been great and has made a real difference to me.  I can roll over easier during the night and not worry about falling out of bed. It also means that my partner can sleep over without us having to squeeze into a single bed.

After buying the bed, I have a small amount of money left and I am going to purchase a travel bag that attaches to my wheelchair. This will make travelling easier for both myself and my partner, as it will mean I can carry my own luggage and give me a sense of independence.  And my partner won’t have to lug everything around alone.  We are hoping to go on an all-inclusive holiday, to sit sipping cocktails by the sea.

If Your Fund hadn’t been an option, I would have had to look into what grants were available from other organisations to see if they could help towards the cost.

Matthew on his new bed

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