Joanna has joined our team as Peer Support Advisor for Aberdeen and the Grampian area.

We all face challenges throughout life, in so many shapes and sizes. They can strike us anytime, anywhere, and often seem unfair and certainly unexpected. This is what my spinal injury was for me.


Before my injury I have always been up to something where I lived in the growing town of Ellon, either being roped into my brother’s next grand idea or one of my own. I would go adventuring across woodlands, walking our family dog or off beekeeping with my Dad. I travelled across Europe for my university and took up courses taught only in German (I can’t speak German). To say the least, I’m spontaneous.


Unfortunately, in 2019 I was involved in a car accident which resulted in a T12 Complete Spinal Cord Injury. I spent 5 months in the Glasgow Spinal Unit at QEH, learning how to manage my SCI and how to go forward in this new body. Once discharged from hospital I’ve dived back into my university work. Now I have completed my university course, passed my driving test, and have started wheelchair racing. I have never lost my drive for pushing the boundaries, if anything my injury has only added fuel to the fire.

If my experience has taught me anything it's the capability of the human spirit. This isn't the path I wanted my life to take, but nevertheless, this is what my life is now. I once believed that nobody could really know what my loss meant to me, I thought at the start it was too personal and something that I just had to cope with on my own. I had taken it as my own personal battle, to overcome my fears and face the endless new challenges. In lots of ways this was true, but I realized in conversation that I wasn't alone. I had family to cry to, friends to comfort me and colleagues to motivate me. I am grateful and so moved by the kindness I have received from all of those I have met in my life and will continue to. This is my reason to work with Spinal Injuries Scotland; to meet more people who understand this journey or who just started.