Did you know that September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month? Originally co-sponsored by Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, the bill for this awareness month was created to recognize the prevalence of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the country as well as highlight the achievements that people with a spinal cord injury accomplish.
Statistics about Spinal Cord Injuries
- Every 48 seconds, someone becomes paralyzed in the United States.
- Approximately 17,700 people are newly spinal cord injured each year.
- About 78% of spinal cord injured people are male.
- Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of SCI, followed by falls, acts of violence (gunshot wounds), and sports-related accidents
Overcoming Adversity of a Spinal Cord Injury
The effects of a spinal cord injury can be life-altering. However, individuals with SCI often overcome the challenges of their condition and go on to lead normal, happy lives. In fact, many of them go on to achieve incredible things!
180 Medical’s founder, Todd Brown, is one of those people. In 1994, Todd had a motocross accident, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. Since then, he has had to deal with the daily challenges that anyone with an SCI might encounter. For instance, he was dealing with recurring urinary tract infections from reusing his catheters, which left him feeling run down and sick. Plus, he kept dealing with medical supply companies that didn’t seem to care about him or helping him find products that could better his quality of life.
Some friends in the handcycle racing community told him about closed system catheter kits later on. Plus, he learned sterile use intermittent catheterization. After that, the regular UTIs went away. Todd felt so much better, it was like his quality of life had done a complete 180-degree turnaround.
After this experience, Todd wanted to help others in similar situations. As a result, he founded 180 Medical as a company that could also help turn lives around. Today, 180 Medical is a leading supplier of urinary catheter supplies, as well as ostomy products and incontinence supplies.
Top 3 Tips for Spreading SCI Awareness
The goal of SCI Awareness Month is to educate the public on how prevalent this injury is. In addition, it serves as a way to spread prevention tips and increase support and understanding for those living with SCI.
Here are just a few ways that you can directly make a positive impact during Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
1. Donate your money or time.
Do you have a few spare dollars each month? Are you looking for a meaningful way to make a difference? One option is by donating your money or volunteering your time with spinal cord injury organizations, foundations, and charities.
For example, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is a great option that offers education, support, and peer mentor opportunities that can truly change the lives of people living with an SCI.
United Spinal Association also offers tons of resources and guidance for newly paralyzed people, a supportive online community, and more. Plus, they make it easy to donate by using Amazon Smile, which donates 0.5% of the price of your Amazon purchases to their organization.
You may also enjoy volunteering opportunities locally, such as Will2Walk Foundation’s golf tournaments and community events benefitting the lives of those with spinal cord injuries.
Whether you donate your money or your time, you’re directly contributing to something that can truly change lives.
2. Spend time with a loved one, friend, or co-worker with SCI.
One of the most impactful things we can do is to take time to acknowledge what someone living with an SCI is going through. Listen to their story, and congratulate them on all the challenges they’ve overcome. Ask what you can do as an ally.
We can really make a difference when we do something as simple as a good, meaningful conversation that lets the other person know we’re here for them.
3. Share information and helpful facts about SCI on your social media.
One of the easiest ways to spread awareness is through social media. You can share direct links to some of 180 Medical’s spinal cord injury resources or helpful infographics with statistics about SCI. Plus, find out more about 180 Medical’s outreach to newly injured patients in rehabilitation hospitals with our dedicated Patient Advocate team: James and Steve, who also live with SCI, and Brendan, who was born with spina bifida.
By engaging in Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, you even potentially help reduce the number of new SCI cases each year if more people become aware of how these injuries occur.