Andy Russell, aged 38, was determined from the start that the spinal injury that left him with limited hand movement aged 18, was not going to stop him in life.
A diving accident in a Surrey lake left Andy with a C4-5 injury. He spent 10 months in rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville hospital. After which, with much determination, he managed to get back to his degree course at Exeter University after only a year and graduated with honours.
At the time, some friends told me that research progress could mean I would be walking around again within five years. But I know it will take a while longer. For over 50 years there was zero research funded, so we are playing catch up and it will take time.
I am a committed supporter of Spinal Research and strongly believe improvements will come because of all the breakthroughs the medical researchers have had. It's important, however, to live life to the full today - you should not put your life on hold.