Posted: 14th July 2016

The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded £65,000 to INSPIRE Foundation to fund research which aims to improve the quality of life and independence of those living with spinal cord injuries.

The project will be led by research scientist Sean Doherty who broke his neck in a mountain bike accident in 2008. Sean and his team hope to develop wearable stimulation devices to control bladder and bowel as an alternative to pharmaceutical therapies. While the inability to walk is often considered the most challenging consequence of spinal cord injury, the loss of control of bladder and bowel is often the most difficult to manage and can have a persistent and detrimental effect on health, welfare and quality of life.

Sean said: “Following my injury, I was just keen to get on with what I had been doing before it happened. I wanted to be an inventor when I was young; all inventors are trying to solve problems. I think having my injury has directed that ambition towards problems I have seen since.”

Trevor Koschalka, a Freemason from London who visited the research on behalf of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: “We are incredibly proud to support the NEUROMOD research project through a grant to INSPIRE Foundation. We hope that the grant will enable Sean and the rest of the team to successfully develop a wearable device to control bladder and bowel function and improve the quality of life of Spinal Cord Injured people.”

Rory Steevenson, Director at INSPIRE Foundation, said: “One of my biggest worries with our research programme is whether or not we can afford to run projects as we receive no government funding. The Masonic Charitable Foundation grant will guarantee the project can continue to full term. This is the best possible news and we are so grateful.”

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