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Hambo launches new networking site

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Matt Hampson is just one of many sporting celebrities helping to launch MySpine.org, a dedicated social networking site for people whose lives have been affected by spinal cord injury.

MySpine.org – the first online community of its kind – is being launched at the Houses of Parliament to mark Spinal Injuries Awareness Day on Friday, May 16. It will act as a forum for people to connect with others affected by spinal cord injury, share their experiences and upload their stories and photos.

“My spinal injury cut my career short and changed my life,” says Matt. “I was always aware that I was playing a dangerous sport, but anyone who loves rugby will tell you that you just don’t consider that when you’re playing.

“I had a great network of support in my family and friends, but wish I’d had also something like MySpine.org available to me at the time. MySpine.org will play a really important role in helping people through their recovery process. It’s unrealistic not to expect any setbacks along the way, but I hope that by sharing our ups and downs we can give other people hope.”

The online community, which will be found at www.myspine.org, is aimed at all those affected by spinal injury – whether they be an injured person themselves, someone who considers themselves to be a ‘near miss’, a friend, relative, carer or just someone interested in the condition.

Announcing the launch of MySpine.org, Jonathan Miall, Chief Executive of Spinal Research, said: “Spinal injuries are more common than people think, and few people realise just how close many people come to it – for every one person with a spinal cord injury, there are an estimated six people who narrowly miss being paralysed.

“For all those affected by spinal cord injury, an online community provides a useful platform to share experiences and hear from people who have been through the same thing. We believe this resource will be invaluable and will sustain people through what is likely to have been a traumatic experience for them. We hope it will provide an ongoing source of support.”

About MySpine.org

• MySpine can be found at www.MySpine.org and will be launched this Spring

• The following celebrities are all online at MySpine.org

Richard Dunwoody – Champion jump jockey / South Pole adventurer
Bear Grylls – Adventurer and TV personality
Lembit Opik – Liberal Democrat MP
Matt Hampson – Tigers and England U-21s
Dion Dublin – Norwich City football player
Trey Azam from TV reality show The Apprentice
JP McNamara – Jump jockey
Sam Cullum – UK snowboarder

About Spinal Research

Spinal Research is the UK’s leading charitable organisation in the field of spinal cord injury research
Spinal Research focuses on finding ways to repair damaged spinal cords – something long thought impossible. Established in 1980, the charity raises money for groundbreaking projects at scientific and medical institutions around the world

About spinal cord injury

• The spinal cord, part of the central nervous system (CNS), enables communication between the brain and the rest of the body. When injured, nerves in the CNS do not repair themselves
• Spinal cord injury is about more than paralysis – severing contact between the brain and other organs has further distressing consequences; it also affects sensation, the body’s control systems and sexual function
• Some 40,000 people in the UK suffer paralysis resulting from injury to their spinal cord. This devastating injury will affect around 1,000 more people each year
• Injury often results from a road or sporting accident, or fall, and the majority of injuries occur amongst active 18-35 year olds.