Each year 1 March marks International Wheelchair Day. The annual awareness day is commemorated with events and activities to raise money for mobility charities in the UK, where it first started, and beyond.

First celebrated in 2008, International Wheelchair Day has grown each year and events have been held all over the world including in Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and the USA.

International Wheelchair Day serves a dual purpose: enabling wheelchair users to celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has in their lives, while acknowledging that millions of people in the world need a wheelchair but who do not have access to one. Advancements in mobility technology in recent years have allowed individuals to regain their freedom and independence, but there is still work to do to raise awareness of the challenges they face.

Many of our clients have become wheelchair users as a result of sustaining a serious life-changing injury. We see first-hand the difference having access to a well-designed wheelchair can make to an individual’s life, but this is not to downplay how daunting the experience of using a wheelchair for the first time can be.


Fundraising and support

As part of our efforts to mark International Wheelchair Day on 1 March, Stewarts will be taking part in the Spinal Circuit Challenge to raise money and awareness for Back Up, the spinal cord injury charity. The aim of the challenge is for teams to walk, run and push to cover at least 1,799km, the total distance between all 11 spinal units in the UK.

Back Up provides vital services and support to those impacted by spinal cord injury. For over 30 years, they have helped people and their families to rebuild their independence after a devastating spinal cord injury. The charity’s latest impact report says 229 family members of individuals with spinal cord injuries accessed the family support services, with 96% feeling more supported after attending. 145 children and young people have been supported by Back-Up and 100% say they feel happier at school after receiving these services.

As part of their services, Back Up offers three stages of wheelchair skills training for users of any age and experience level, covering wheelchair use in hospitals, on residential courses and across the UK. Back Up’s report says 510 individuals have attended wheelchair skills training sessions and 98% left feeling more confident.

Back Up rely on donations from their supporters, including the Stewarts Foundation, and from members of the public.

Sean McCallion, Head of Public Fundraising at Back Up commented:

“Back Up exists to help people whose lives have been turned upside down by spinal cord injury. Through peer mentoring, wheelchair skills training, courses and a range of dedicated support services we help people adjust and find a positive way forward.  We’re excited to be launching the Spinal Circuit on 1st March and delighted to have a fantastic team on board from Stewarts. Fundraising from this event and the wider support from Stewarts over many years has had a huge impact on Back Up. By getting involved or sponsoring the Stewarts team you will be making a difference and helping ensure people with spinal cord injury get the support they need – Thank you!”


Client case studies

TR, a young student, sustained a life-changing spinal cord injury at the age of 19 when the car in which he was a front-seat passenger crashed at high speed. The injuries sustained rendered TR paraplegic: he will be wheelchair dependent for the rest of his life

Our 48-year-old client PJH sustained severe head injuries following an attempted suicide, whilst experiencing psychosis. PJH now has access to a bespoke power wheelchair, which he is able to control himself with the limited hand function that he has.

Our International Injury team acted on behalf of Dr Daniel Gordon in his compensation claim against insurers Arch and Chubb, brought after a defect in his brand-new “gravel” bike left him paralysed from the waist down. He was left with no function in his legs and will be dependent on a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Thank you to Hannah Ellis and Ellie Falkingham for their work on this article.



You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence pages.

If you require assistance from our team, please contact us.



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