Sunderland academic shows support for vital charity after accident left him paralysed
and live on Freeview channel 276
Peter Smith, 63, a professor of computing who also lives in the city, fell downstairs four years ago breaking two neck vertebrae. He now needs 24-hour care.
At the time of his accident, Peter had recently retired to look after his late wife Marie who had cancer.
Now, he is using his experience in support of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness Day on Friday, May 15, which supports the work of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).
The charity has been a huge help to Peter, offering practical advice, friendship and encouragement, which helped him to resume work.
He now tutors online and writes articles and books using voice recognition software.
The coronavirus lockdown has brought the 2020 SCI Awareness Day into sharper focus, as people in Peter’s condition are unable to self-isolate due to the amount of face-to-face care he needs.
But as his lungs don’t work to full capacity, he is particularly vulnerable should he catch the virus.
Two of his carers needed to self-isolate, which has meant additional work for the others.
Peter, of Thornhill, is full of praise for them and also for Sunderland City Council, who have helped supply them with personal protective equipment (PPE) so they can work.
He said: “My wife sadly passed away last year. That loss, combined with my injury, has brought our family closer together.
“But you can’t underestimate the value of expert advice and peer support from people who specialise in SCI.
“It’s more important than ever right now as we deal with the additional challenges posed by self-isolation and the coronavirus.”
Of the charity’s work, Peter added: “SIA is a great source of advice, reassurance and support regarding this and so many other issues I’ve experienced since sustaining an SCI.”
SIA has redeployed its frontline teams of nurse specialists and support network officers to provide information, advocacy and support remotely to the 50,000 paralysed people in the UK, as well as their families and healthcare professionals, during lockdown.