New Delhi: Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) organized a wheelchair rally to observe the 1st Spinal Cord Injury Day at Rajpath on Sunday. The wheelchair rally was flagged of by Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Over 150 wheelchair users and 750 able-bodies people, along with 35 bikers participated in the rally to increase awareness about spinal cord injury and how it is preventable and those afflicted can lead a normal and inclusive life.

A Spinal Cord Injury patient seeks blessing from Union Minister of Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan during the rally at India Gate.Photo: Yogesh Kumar

Speaking about the effect of spinal injuries, Dr. Harvinder Chhabra, Chief of Spine Services, ISIC said: “Over the years, treating and helping rehabilitated men, women and even children who have had spinal injuries has given us an intrinsic understanding of the aspects related to spinal injuries. These are not just medical related, but also about the devastating mental, social, sexual and vocational consequences for the injured.”

Flagging of the rally, Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that spinal injuries bounds you to a life on wheelchair, and the patients need support from the public at all times. “The union government is doing all it can to support such activities. Technology has been advanced to such extent that we now have wheelchairs which can aid and assist a differently abled person with ease,” said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

“I have been bound to the wheelchair since 1993, but it is not a hindrance for me, I still lead a normal life like I used to before my injury. The courage and determination of a person decides what will stop him or her,” said Mamata Vijayakar (45), who braved the sunny day to be a part of the rally.

Reiterating the importance of wearing a seatbelt while driving, Dr. Chhabra hoped that with the rally and other educational drives, spinal cord injuries can be prevented. “We are trying to make people aware that carelessness, recklessness, ignorance or simple bad decision should be avoided to prevent a spinal injury.

The most common manner of spinal cord injury in India is due to accidents. “Getting a spinal cord injury is the most devastating event in a person’s life. SCI can be prevented in many cases and various and various strategies are available. A national and international collaboration can make a real difference,” said Major HPS Ahluwalia, Chairman, ISIC.

The event was organized in association with International Spinal Cord Society as an advocacy drive to support people with disability and to ensure greater chances for them to lead a normal life.

This article first appeared in The Times of India, Delhi Edition issue dated 05.09.2016


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