Fiona Fraser - Wellbeing Peer Support Advisor

for Inverness & The Highlands


Fiona joined Spinal Injuries Scotland in Nov 2022

Fiona's Story

I’m Fiona Fraser, Peer support and Wellbeing advisor for Spinal Injuries Scotland for the Highlands area.

I have been a volunteer for the charity for around 3 years, During Covid I was furloughed from my job, so I did some calls to members for support during the pandemic.

In 2016 my accident was diving into a shallow pool which I wasn’t supposed to dive, I was pretending and was going to do a bellyflop, my friends said if I was an Olympic diver I would have got a gold medal, instead I received a Spinal cord injury.

I am an incomplete quadriplegic, I fractured C4, C5, C6 and T2, I had surgery at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Spinal Unit where they fused me from C3 to C7 and had a halo brace on for three months. I was Paralyzed from the chest down and couldn’t use my hands but after 2 months my little toe started to move, I was given intense physiotherapy and hand therapy at the unit for 5 months and I progressed from there and very lucky to now be able to walk.

My Husband and family took it in turns to come and visit me in hospital, I used to say to my husband look my little toe is wiggling but he would say to me Fiona it isn’t but keep thinking it is and the weekend I did show him it was moving we both cried.

I am a hairdresser and needed my legs and hands to be able to get back to my work, so I knew I had to work hard and I was determined to get back to my work, I asked my husband to take to me a manikin head and my hairdressing scissors and tools to practice using them, a few times they were put back into the cupboard with frustration, but always got them back out and Spinal Injuries peer support helped me a lot in the hospital, they kept me going to be able to achieve my goals.

I did get back to my work by 2017 as a Hairdressing Learning Assistant at Moray College UHI, I also do a lot of fitness my injury has made me be fitter and have a heathier life style than before, I swim 1 mile twice a week, I do Pilates every week, I go to the gym twice a week, my thing is definitely cycling which I didn’t ever think I would be able to do but perseverance paid off, I now cycle a road bike and get out most weekend around 30 to 40 miles. My recent cycle for charity was from the Isle of Skye bridge to the Kessock Inverness bridge 78 miles and very hilly. My next big cycle is the ETAPE Loch Ness 66 miles.

The job I am in just now came up with Spinal Injuries Scotland it was perfect timing as I had been back to my job at the college for 5 years now and it was a lot of standing and walking, helping students and I was very sore, I thought I am getting older and it’s time for a change of job and still be able to do my fitness but also have a job which is rewarding as peer support.

I am experienced in many ways with SCI as I still have a spinal cord injury, but never claim that I know all the answers, just have determination and looking forward to helping and supporting others as they start their journey.