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HomeNewsHammond gets into gear for Spinal Research broadcast

Hammond gets into gear for Spinal Research broadcast

Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond
Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond

TOP GEAR presenter Richard Hammond is supporting Spinal Research by fronting a BBC Lifeline appeal to raise funds for the charity.

The appeal, also featuring Times journalist Melanie Reid who was paralysed after a riding accident, will be broadcast on Sunday February 20 on BBC1 at around 5pm and again on Wednesday 23rd on BBC2 at lunchtime.

Following his high-speed jet car accident in 2006, Richard was left partially brain damaged but thankfully made a full, if lengthy recovery.

Although not realising it at the time, Richard was very lucky.

Despite the speed and ferocity of the crash, he didn’t suffer any injury to his spine, but he understands that an accident can mean permanent damage for some people, which will change their lives forever.

The BBC Lifeline appeal will focus on the stories of people with spinal cord injuries and how this has affected their lives.

Times writer Melanie Reid was paralysed when she broke her neck falling from a horse.

After being air lifted to hospital doctors delivered the devastating news that Melanie might never walk again.

Nearly a year later and Melanie is still in hospital recovering from her accident but thanks to pioneering research she has some temporary feeling in her hamstrings and buttocks and is taking a few steps.

Melanie said “My treatment involves rehabilitation in the Lokomat (a robotic treadmill device that minimizes the need for assisting therapists) which helps me strengthen my leg muscles and hopefully get them working again.

“It’s early days yet but every time I use it I am seeing an improvement and who knows maybe one day I’ll walk again.”

Head of Research at Spinal Research Dr Mark Bacon explained:

“We are starting to understand there are degrees of severity with spinal cord injury and many people still have movement, feeling or muscle control in certain limbs.”

“Every year more than 800 people in the UK are paralysed following a spinal cord injury.

“In the past it was thought that the spinal cord could not be repaired and that paralysis was permanent, simply to be endured, but thanks to Spinal Research there is hope. The charity aims to find ways to improve treatment and ultimately find a cure.”

There has been significant progress in understanding spinal cord injury.

Laboratory work has proved promising as for the very first time researchers have identified a number of key treatments with the potential to prevent and reverse paralysis in even the most severe cases of spinal cord injury.

But more funding is needed to take these discoveries out of the lab and translate them into safe, effective treatments that can benefit real people.

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