Groote Schuur Hospital hosted an awareness campaign to highlight spinal cord injuries and how people are living with them.Visitors to the hospital in Observatory were given this opportunity yesterday (Monday 5 September) to see the latest initiatives available for people living with these injuries as well as to speak to people who were living with them.This exhibition was part of the International Spinal Cord Injury Society’s (Iscos) decision to declare Monday an official spinal cord injury awareness day. The Southern African Spinal Cord Association (Sasca) is an affiliated society of Iscos and also decided to support this great initiative. It aims at increasing awareness of spinal cord injury with the slogan “For a Spinal Cord Injury Inclusive World”. The event at the hospital also created an awareness to facilitate an inclusive life for people with disability and ensure greater chances of success of prevention programmes in the future.There is also the need to create awareness about the causes of spinal cord injury from road crashes. The Quadriplegic Association of South Africa (Qasa) has a national road safety programme encouraging the road using public to use their seat belts. The slogan, “Buckle up, we don’t want new members”, is well known under the association’s brand. They also encourage people not to text or use their mobile phones while driving. Distracted driving is now the biggest cause of road crashes in the world.Ari Seirlis, CEO of Qasa, explains that their members were out in the public eye to create awareness.“Our members were out in force on World Spinal Cord Injury Day encouraging the general public to use their seat belts to ensure that the chances of a spinal cord injury in the event of a road cash are reduced. “We are proud of this partnership with Sasca in celebrating this international day and hope that the impact will be awareness of prevention.” Raven Benny from Wetton was on his way to a wedding in Durban in 2000 when he was involved in an accident that left him with paralysis in all four of his limbs. But at the expo at the hospital he explained that it was not the end of his life.He is still employed at Groote Schuur Hospital where he started working in 1990.“It’s been tough but I made up my mind to still be the best that I can be, despite my circumstances,” he says.“I still drive and my passion is wheelchair rugby making the national team in 2003 and 2005 going on to tour in New Zealand and Rio.“There’s also my gardening that I love to do and my message to people in the community is that being quadriplegic does not mean the end of your life. There are many possibilities for people living with spinal cord injuries.” - For more information go to http://worldsciday.org/.