Chris was injured in a road traffic accident in October 1982 when he was 24.
The crash caused him to be thrown from the car and he suffered a complete injury at T6/T7. He also broke his vertebrae at C5. “All the physical barriers from being in a wheelchair have made everything I do that much harder and 70 per cent of the things I used to do are just impossible - running, football, going to a remote beach, going upstairs, staying at a friend’s house, almost anything spontaneous.
"The embarrassment of looking different has always bothered me. The bowel programme along with being unable to stand up means there’s a big limitation on usable houses and hotels. Having normal bladder and bowel function would speed things up considerably, it should take minutes, not hours. So this closes my world down even more. It feels as if my life was in glorious technicolour but since the accident it’s in black and white. I love cars but now they are a ‘mobility aid’ and a lot of the fun is taken away by hand controls and dealing with the wheelchair. I love playing the guitar, but I want to do it standing up.
"Research would give me freedom from all the barriers that you almost just accept when disabled, but able bodied take it for granted that the barriers aren’t there. It would give me confidence, depending on the quality of the walking gait, of not being labelled as disabled. I want to be a better uncle to my nephew and niece – I’d like them to see me walking.”