Kevin Hanlon - Peer Support Adviser

For The Borders Area

Contact: E: [email protected]

TEL: 07494 477420

Kevin has been with Spinal Injuries Scotland as a Peer Support since June 2023

Kevin’s story

I opened my eyes on 5 March 2021 in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to be told by my wife that I could no longer walk.  Two months earlier I had surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Post op I was transferred to intensive care, developed sepsis, was placed in an induced coma and then suffered a spinal stroke.  I am now a permanent wheelchair user.

My life and that of my family was turned upside down.  We were beyond devastated. It was just too difficult to see how our future could positively compare to our past.

I went from the Edinburgh Royal to the National Spinal Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow, where I spent 5 months developing the skills I needed to help me to live with my spinal cord injury (SCI).  This included learning what I needed to do to lead as independent a life as possible i.e. skin care, toileting, dressing and wheelchair skills. 

The Unit’s focus was to help me and others to manage to live with our conditions. I wasn’t thinking about what might be possible beyond that……at least not until I met Laura Torrance from Spinal Injuries Scotland (SIS).  As I am sure most people who have experienced an SCI know, your focus is very much on dealing with the here and now…..not about what you might want to do with your life beyond getting home.  But I remember sitting transfixed as I listened to Laura and others living with an SCI tell their stories about how they had incurred their injuries and the detail of their journey towards leading as ‘normal’ a life as possible. They gave me hope for the future and it is that hope which has helped motivate me to be the best version of my old self that I can.

I have also been supported along the way by family and friends, as well as by SIS, to source information from organisations who are out there to help make your life just that wee bit easier.  These have included those who provide advice on benefits, housing, home adaptations, health and well-being support and everything in between.

In my role as a member of the SIS Peer Support Team, I now find myself in the fortunate position of being able to share my experiences of living with an SCI along with how to access the help that is out there.  My role is about helping you to overcome whatever hurdles might be getting in the way of living with your SCI. I really look forward to hearing from you.

Get in touch….you know you want to ūüėä.