The SpineCare Foundation launches podcast series on living with a spinal cord injury

By Madeleine Donkin, 17 April 2018 , Comments

In 2006, Dom was a sporty, active fun-loving 23-year-old working for the Royal Australian Air Force as a diesel engineer. One hot day, he and his mates went for a dip at a local dam. It started to get a little dark and Dom decided to go for ‘one last swim’. He dived in and his life changed forever.

From that point on Dom now faced life as a C5-6 quadriplegic. Unfortunately, as tragic as his story is, there are many others who face the same challenges.

The SpineCare Foundation, a division of Northcott, is committed to funding research and educational initiatives that support children with spinal cord disease or injury and their families.

In 2014, the SpineCare Foundation launched two medical educational comic books to support children, their families, peers and communities to understand spinal cord injuries (SCIs). These books have since been used across Australia, the UK, Asia and America to provide a valuable educational resource for children within the 3-7 years and 8-15 years age groups.

However, they felt there was an additional need to provide an educational resource for adolescents with SCIs to support them with the transition from child to adult healthcare services and living an independent adult life.

After some investigation, research showed that podcasts are an effective communication channel for health messages within the 18-25 years age group. The SpineCare Foundation approached Domonic Freestone (a 2017 SpineCare Foundation scholarship winner)

to see if he might be interested in the project and willing to share his story. The aim was to provide advice and insight that might be a support for others with SCI and their family and carers.

Dom’s story is a series of six podcasts in which he openly talks about how the injury occurred, his initial stages of recovery, health and fitness, mental health, relationships, self care, independence and family matters.

He doesn’t shy away from confronting topics in the podcasts, including his contemplation of suicide and how difficult he finds the ‘dating world’.

“I know I would have found something like this really useful when I was first injured and at other points along the journey of my recovery and transition to my ‘new’ life,” Dom said.

“So I’m hoping they will be useful for others out there”.

The podcasts are launching today and can be downloaded here.

If this story has raised any issues for you, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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