Laura Torrance - Peer Support Co-Ordinator

for Glasgow & Ayrshire

EMAIL: [email protected]

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Laura has been with Spinal Injuries Scotland since 2009 First as a volunteer, then as a Peer Support Advisor and in 2018 became the Peer Support Co-Ordinator

Laura's Story

I’m Laura Torrance and I’m the Peer Support coordinator for Glasgow. I’ve been with the charity for around 13 years in total. I started off as a volunteer and I’ve been a member of staff for around 9 years now.

Before my injury I was a typical teenager. I was always full of nonsense and getting told to be quiet in school as I was too chatty. Not much has changed! I’ve always been a happy bubbly person, even if a little cheeky at times but I had many friends and loved socialising and spending time with my wonderful family. We were always going on adventures together and always laughing.

In 1999 that’s when things changed for me and I needed my friends and family more than ever. I have a T6/7 complete spinal injury which I sustained in a car accident. My friend was a new inexperienced driver, and I was thrown from the car into a farmers field. I landed about 20ft from the car and woke up not being able to move. I was taken to a local hospital first then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit the following day where I spent 6 months completing a rehab programme before going back to my family home with my mum, dad and younger sister.

 I chose not to return to school and took some time out to come to terms with my injury. I started taking driving lessons and passed 7 months later. This was my freedom. I then thought about what I wanted to do, and I had a look at college and decided to try a 3-year course in beauty therapy which I really enjoyed and completed with a full graduation ceremony. I felt really proud as it was fairly challenging to start with as no-one had really experienced this at the college before especially in that particular course.  They bought me a special hydraulic bed and we had to problem solve many times but we got though it.

I’ve had a few jobs over the years since being discharged and this all helped build my confidence and self-esteem.  Then after meeting someone from SIS at the annual review clinics in Glasgow I was asked to join as a volunteer and that’s when I really found my calling. There were more and more activities and opportunities offered to me as well as a part time job offering peer support to new patients, existing members, and their families which I still do today. I always say I never claim to know all the answers, but I have experienced many things in my life living with my SCI and I hope that I can continue to help and support others as they start their journey.

I now live independently with my partner. We love to socialise with friends and family. We have nieces and nephews that keep us busy and entertained too. We often travel to our favourite place, Loch Lomond as well as enjoying holidays overseas.  We have some making up to do with adventures due to the restrictions of the pandemic, but we are very much looking forward to getting some things in our diary.