Mum and daughter raise money for Spinal Research

Red Kite Radio director, treasurer and presenter of the Weekday Lunchbox, Sally Poulson and her daughter Emily, are taking part in an awe inspiring challenge this month (May 2024) to raise money for the charity Spinal Research.

Their incredible intention to push and run 250 miles (400 kilometres) has already made headlines in the press and online, so we thought our listeners would like to know a little more about what they will be undertaking.

The charity is of vital importance to Sally because her life changed irrevocably 14 years ago when she suffered a sudden, extremely rare, spinal stroke.  In a matter of hours she became a full time wheelchair user.

Sally told us: “I was driving to pick my son Matthew up from scouts and my legs suddenly went a bit dead and I started to feel unwell. Within 10 minutes of getting back home I couldn’t move my legs and we were heading to hospital.

“Part of the cartilage in one of my discs had come away and, unusually, had lodged between my spine and spinal cord causing a spinal stroke. I’ve been told you’d be twice as likely to win the Euro Millions as you are for this to happen to you.

“Nothing prepares anyone for such a life changing situation and the effect it has on you as a person, your family and friends. Being told you will never walk again feels like a life sentence and propels you into a world full of challenges just to live a life that most people are blessed to take for granted.”

Before her stroke Sally was a fitness fan and keen runner, often running alongside the family pet dog, a golden retriever called Charlie. But it took her a long time after her injury to find the confidence and opportunity to return to decent exercise. During Covid she began more active wheeling and now she faces a massive challenge as she and her daughter Emily join together for their marathon May fundraising challenge. Sally is aiming to complete 125 miles (200km) in her wheelchair while Emily will run the equivalent distance.

Sally explained: “Normally I will clock about 50 miles of exercise every month, so this is quite a lift and will need a lot of discipline to make the distance up to 125 miles.

“We’ll be recording our distances on our smart watches and the synced app will be tallying up as the month proceeds.  I’m planning to be wheeling five days a week in the early morning or early evening to fit in the miles.”

Sally will do most of her miles on accessible routes around Waddesdon and on the Phoenix Trail and will occasionally travel to Bath, where her daughter lives, so that they can push and run together.

Sally said: “I was delighted that my daughter caught the running bug too and we really want to raise as much as possible to create a little more hope for others like me who suffer spinal cord injuries. This world is not really designed for wheelchair users and only by pushing on with research can we open up opportunities for improvements in our lives.”

Sally has been a much valued member of Red Kite Radio for several years and used to present the Nice ‘n Easy Show in the late evening, her soft soothing voice just perfect for getting listeners ready for bedtime.  Sally now presents the Weekday Lunchbox at 12 noon through to 1pm on 107.2fm from Monday to Friday.

Head of Output Chris Long said: “Sally is a vital member of Red Kite Radio.  As well as having a great presenting style, with a warm voice and friendly manner on the Weekday Lunchbox, she holds the essential roles of station treasurer and director.  We are delighted and proud to support the incredible challenge she is undertaking with her daughter Emily.”

Spinal Research is the UK’s leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop effective treatments for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. Every year 1,000 people in the UK and Ireland are paralysed following an injury to their spinal cord. They receive no government funding and rely entirely on the support of the public to raise funds for their research.

If you would like to support Sally and her daughter in their impressive and important effort you can visit their fundraising page:

Published 3rd May 2024