Ever since the world heard about the incredible work being done on spinal cord injury in Poland, funded by nsif, we have been waiting for a visit from the team there to celebrate their achievements.
On Monday night, at an event generously sponsored by Mandarin Oriental, the charity was able to host its patrons and long-time supporters along with the lead scientists – Geoffrey Raisman and Pawel Tabakow – and the first patient, Darek Fidyka. It was a rare opportunity for people supporting the charity to see and hear about its work from the people who are benefitting today.
The atmosphere in the room was electric as David Nicholls, Prof. Raisman and Dr. Tabakow spoke about the project’s future. They were joined at the lectern by Wagih el Masri, president of the International Spinal Cord Society, who also appeared in the 2014 Panorama documentary. Prof. el Masri, one of the world’s pre-eminent authorities on spinal cord injury, gave an impromptu speech in support of the project.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Tabakow and Darek had visited the BBC Today programme studio to discuss the past and future of the project in Poland. Darek described the moment he regained sensation as “just an amazing feeling”. Dr. Tabakow said the aim of the surgical procedure he is developing, based on Prof. Raisman’s technique, is to “increase the quality of life” of spinal injured-people through improvements in sensation, movement and basic functions.
Dedicated patrons of the charity including Claire Lomas, Frank Gardner, Jennifer and Eddy Shah, Gary Lineker, his wife Danielle and his brother-in-law Kaid, Lord Powell of Bayswater, Lord & Lady Leitch of Oakley, Ieuan Evans and Richard Shepherd were all in the audience on the night. Organisations including the Grocers’ Charity and BBC Panorama were also represented.
And as a final, though not inconsequential, bonus, the wine, canapés and service supplied by Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park were – as one would expect from this luxury hotel group – exceptional.
nsif wishes to send a huge thank you to everybody who helped make the event such a special evening!