Ruth Purves: A Cure Girl Warrior

FREEDOM

Freedom to move is one of our most basic human rights – La libertà di muoversi è uno dei principali e basilari diritti umani

Hello, I’m Ruth and I’m most definitely a Cure Girl, not a ‘Push Girl’.  In 2009, I brokeRUTH my neck in an accident and have been paralysed from the chest down since. I cannot balance as I have no trunk muscles and have no use of my hands or fingers. I am dependent on others for almost all aspects of my survival.

Prior to my accident, I was working in Afghanistan as a humanitarian aid worker.  I have a master’s degree in Disaster Management and have worked in conflict and disaster zones all over the world. My career was demanding, challenging and occasionally rewarding.

Ruth in AfghanistanWhen not working, I enjoyed travelling and exploring new cultures. I was and still am a positive and energetic person. However, living trapped in a body that doesn’t work is incredibly frustrating and sad.

Like everyone else who becomes paralysed, I did not choose this life.  The only choice I have left is a simple one: choose to accept being paralysed or choose to do something about it. I’m choosing to do something about it.

We are at an exciting point in human history where regenerative medicine is about to become a reality. Pre-clinical research and clinical trials and are taking place like never before. However, to ensure that chronic spinal cord injury becomes curable, there’s still a lot to do. The more people who come forward to support a cure, the better. We need a collective voice saying loud and clear that paralysis is not acceptable.

Freedom to move is one of our most basic human rights and to be paralysed is to be alienated from one’s most fundamental sense of self.

Together with a dedicated team of international cure advocates, I campaign for a cure for chronic SCI. We support and question scientists, lobby organisations and ensure that chronic SCI is always on the agenda. I also organise local fundraising initiatives to support clinical trials that are already underway.

As well as campaigning for a cure, I also undertake an intensive exercise regime toRuth exercising ensure that when a cure therapy becomes available, my body is ready. It’s an unrewarding task and it consumes most of my energy but I’m determined to recover and believe that a healthy body will be easier to cure.

I want my life back.  I want to be well; to be free; to move.  I’m not a Push Girl; I’m a Cure Girl Warrior.

 Ruth Purves

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