The Freemasons Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded £65,000 to the INSPIRE Foundation to fund research that aims to improve the quality of life and independence of people with spinal cord injuries.
The research project will be led by Sean Doherty at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, based at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. Doherty broke his neck in a mountain biking accident in 2008 and is disabled and has limited hand and arm function.
With his co-workers Sarah Knight and Anne Vanhoestenberghe, Doherty is researching the NEUROMOD project, which aims to develop wearable stimulation devices as an alternative to pharmaceutical therapies to control bladder and bowel function.
Restoration of bladder and bowel function is a top priority for patients who have suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury. Although the inability to walk is often assumed to be the most challenging consequence of such an injury, the loss of control of bladder and bowel is often the most difficult to manage and can have a persistent and detrimental effect on health, welfare and quality of life.
Rory Stevenson, director at INSPIRE Foundation, said: “One of my biggest worries with our research programme is whether or not we can afford to run projects as we receive no government funding. The Masonic Charitable Foundation grant has covered the remaining cost of NEUROMOD and will guarantee it can continue to full term. This is the best possible news and we are so grateful.”