Ambassador Davey Jose explains why spinal cord injury research is vital

In the early 1980s, I was run over by a car aged 2.8 years old and sustained a C1/C2 incomplete spinal injury. The National Spinal Injuries Centre has been like a second home over the years. The staff are much like an extended family who are always there and very supportive in helping to navigate the complex world of living with a spinal cord injury.

I’m very honoured to be an Ambassador for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research

The ability of charities such as Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research being able to fund life changing research and apply it in clinical settings, has been crucial in allowing people like myself with a spinal injury, to live fulfilling and productive lives. I'm constantly able to apply the learnings from spinal research into my daily life and due to this support, I was able to graduate from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, in Pure & Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

Nowadays, I pursue projects at the intersection of art and science, which involve visual arts, technology, mathematics and film-making innovation, exploring themes such as spinal injury, disability and others – very much influenced by my interactions with the National Spinal Injuries Centre and research funded by Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research. The continual improvements in spinal technologies over the years has aided me so that I’m able to work full-time in finance. I would not be able to do any of this if it wasn’t enabled by practical research funded by a charity such as this.

In my recent art exhibition series called The Cure, I drew upon my own experiences, painting damaged spinal cords and organs, with raw fashion. I playfully contrast this with reimagined paintings of iconic portraits from art history, as if each had orthotics like neck collars and body braces, which I has had to use. I try to normalise disabilities and ask the audience to reassess how they view these injuries today - "it's OK to be different and we should embrace our differences". My spinal art has been showcased globally from Korea to New York and was recently profiled by BBC 2, and exhibited at The British Library as part of their 500th Da Vinci anniversary celebrations.

My medical art is directly inspired by research, and I hope it raises awareness about the importance of funding spinal injury research in the future to help others.

Please show your support by making a donation today. Thank you.

Davey Jose, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research Ambassador

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