On Saturday 1 July a team from Shoosmiths’ Serious Injury (Shoosmiths SI) pushed Jo Wright, a wheelchair user who suffered a spinal cord injury, to the top of one of the UK’s highest mountains to raise funds for spinal cord injury charity Back Up.
‘The Push’ is Back Up’s toughest fundraising challenge. Teams must work together to get a full-time wheelchair user to the top of Yr Wyddfa (formerly known as Snowdon) and back down again, over steep, mixed surfaced terrain.
Yr Wyddfa is in the Eryri National Park in Gwynedd, Wales. The mountain is the highest in Wales, at 1,085 metres above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands.
Jo, who is a former client of Denise Stephens (partner in the Shoosmiths SI team), suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) 12 years ago as a result of medical negligence. She was until recently the chair of trustees for Back Up and has been a trustee for seven years. Denise and her team assisted Jo to bring a claim and secure funding to help with her long-term health and care needs.
Twelve teams in total set off at intervals from Llanberis. Sadly, the summer weather the country had been enjoying deserted them and gale force winds meant that the challenge had to be capped at 750 metres. The Shoosmiths team completed the challenge in a very respectable 4 hours 10 minutes.
Denise Stephens rallied a team comprising of Phil Barnes (Head of Serious Injury and partner), partners Chris McKinney, Nick Tubb, and Sue Prior, paralegal Marie Brown, associate Tom Iannaccone, senior associate Alex Haider and his wife Helen, and business development manager, Paula Gurney, plus Jo’s friends and family, and David Pipkin of Temple Legal Protection.
Denise Stephens, partner and medical negligence expert said: “Shoosmiths SI is a long-term supporter of the Back Up Trust, and we regularly take part in fundraising events to support the charity’s fantastic work with people with a spinal cord injury. We were delighted to be part of such a well-organised event. The atmosphere on the mountain was brilliant and we had a lot of interest from members of the public, including additional fundraising donations!”
Jo Wright said: “I have been utterly terrified of heights for many years. I also hate being out of control of my wheelchair, feeling very vulnerable if others are dictating my movements. However, I wanted to raise vital cash for the Back Up Trust, a charity very close to my own heart. I must confess that there were points on both the ascent and descent where I closed my eyes and hoped for the best!
“It was a terrific experience, aided (carried, pushed, shoved, comforted) by a wonderful team from Shoosmiths’ Serious Injury who have also been a key part of my journey, and fabulous long-term supporters of Back Up.
“Denise Stephens announced to the world that I was doing this challenge with the Shoosmiths Serious Injury Team, so it's all her fault really...wine tasting was more my comfort zone!”
After the climb, Back Up hosted an awards ceremony where the Shoosmiths team was named top fundraiser, with a total of over £22k on the night. If you would like to help the team reach a staggering £25k, to support the superb work of Back Up, you will find the fundraising page here.