Today, the 5th of September, is World SCI Day

The 5th of September 2016 marked the inaugural celebration of World Spinal Cord Injury Day. It is an initiative by the International Spinal Cord Society with the goal to facilitate an inclusive life for people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) by raising awareness among the public. You find out more about World SCI Day here.

logo des internationalen sci day

The logo of World SCI Day

According to Urban Dictionary, "'raise awareness' is a buzzword meaning 'doing something that I think solves the problem to look good, but in reality doesn't actually solve the problem'". By this, they refer to the mentality of the current generation to just like, share and comment on social media posts as a means of raising awareness.

As you will see in this post, World SCI Day is not just about liking and sharing. It's about letting people around you know what SCI is and what it feels like to live with SCI. It’s about facilitating discussions that can lead to a more inclusive life for persons with disability. Finally, it’s uplifting the SCI community by showing what they can do and achieve.

Singer Tim McCallum opening up an event on World SCI Day in September 2018 in Australia.

How to celebrate World SCI Day

Every year, World SCI Day celebrates with a different slogan. For the previous years, it was "Yes We Can" (2017), "Stop Spinal Cord Injury" (2018), and "Living life to the fullest" (2019). This year, the theme is "COVID-19 and SCI: Staying well".

Keeping with these themes of World SCI Day, various organizations and individuals host fun opportunities for everyone to get involved. In some events, the aim is to educate the public on SCI prevalence and prevention, while in others, the focus in on increasing the understanding and support of those living with SCI.

19. jährliche rollstuhlstaffel von saskatoon kanada

The 19th Saskatoon annual wheelchair relay held in September 2018, raising funds for Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan in Canada. (Source: https://www.therattlers.ca/)

Here are just a few ways in which you can get involved and have a positive impact during World SCI Day:

1. Wear an SCI awareness ribbon

As with most health conditions, spinal cord injury also has its own awareness color ribbon. The SCI awareness ribbon is lime green, sharing this color with a few other conditions including lymphoma, Lyme disease and muscular dystrophy. Wearing this ribbon can spark conversation with people who may ask what the ribbon represents and allow you to talk with them about SCI in general and about your personal experiences.

2. Share your experiences and views on SCI with your colleagues, on social media, and other people you know

Paralympic tennis player Lucy Shuker shares why she decided to become an ambassador for the British SCI Awareness Day and why she thinks it is important for everyone with an SCI to share their story and achievements.

Steve Brown, a British television presenter with SCI, shared:

"Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day is hugely important as it raises awareness about what a spinal cord injury is, highlights some of the issues that spinal cord injured people have to face and most importantly shows how life can still continue once you’ve sustained an injury. I myself have gone on to be part of the Paralympic team and I am now working in television as a presenter and I love it. I want everyone to know that there is life after spinal cord injury!"

3. Join a fundraising or awareness event in your community

This could be a race, a rally, a group discussion, a fundraising sale or even an educational forum on SCI.

schülergruppe im rollstuhl feiern die sip week

A school launching the SIP week fundraising campaign in September 2019 during Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week in Australia. (Source: https://www.pcsrf.org.au/)

Celebrating SCI around the world

Besides the international SCI Day on 5th of September, there are other national days or even periods that are dedicated to raising awareness of SCI. Here are some examples how these days are celebrated:

helfer tragen rollstuhlfahrer zum surfen aufs meer

Access Surf partnering with the Department of Health Neurotrauma Supports and Pacific Disabilities Centre for their Day at the Beach event to celebrate National SCI Awareness Month in Hawai’i. (Source: https://health.hawaii.gov)

In India, a wheelchair rally is organized on World SCI Day to raise awareness about spinal cord injury.

tanzende teilnehmer der rollstuhl kundgebung in indien

Participants dancing during the wheelchair rally on World SCI Day at India Gate in New Delhi. (Photo: IANS; source: https://www.prokerala.com)

The chairman of the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre H P S Ahluwalia said,

"Such events are a reminder of how people with disabilities have capabilities and talent hidden from plain sight. Our aim is to bring forth that hidden aspects of SCI survivors to boost their confidence and make able-bodied people aware of their fellow citizens."

How would you celebrate World Spinal Cord Injury Day? What do you think is the best way to raise people's awareness on SCI?

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