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Hi, my name is Zak and I would like to share with you my story on how I met the incredible Vicky and Graham, the Peer Support Advocates from PQSA.

Last July, I had a kite surfing accident and broke my C6 vertebrae, which left me a quadriplegic. As part of my rehabilitation, I spent 4 months at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Unit where I met Vicky and Graham from PQSA. Graham and Vicky were very important to me during my time at Hampstead; they both understood what I was going through because they are living with spinal cord injury and could give me the best advice.

Vicky and Graham were and still are a great support for my family and friends. During my rehabilitation, my family and friends asked a lot of questions about my rehabilitation and what my life was going to be like living with a spinal cord injury. Graham and Vicky helped them come to terms with what I was facing, which made them feel informed and ready for me to return home.

I am comforted to know that PQSA has Peer Support Advocates at Hampstead who will give people going through rehabilitation the same support they gave me. Since I have left Hampstead I have kept in touch with Vicky and Graham by phone and look forward to our chats.

PQSA’s Peer Support Advocates are people living with spinal cord injury who can provide support, advice information and advocacy for clients and their family and friends. As they have experienced spinal cord injury, they bring an understanding of the issues confronting our clients during and after rehabilitation.

The Peer Support Advocates do much of their work at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre’s Spinal Injuries Unit. Whilst the primary purpose of this service is to provide key education and support in the months following the initial injury, the Peer Support Advocates also play an essential role in the transition of people back into the community through an outreach service and home visits.

The Peer Support Advocates are essential because:

  • They play a key role in supporting PQSA’s clients on a wide range of issues, resources and services associated with spinal cord injury
  • They offer a flexible service designed to meet each individual’s needs
  • They can provide representation to ensure clients have access to the best medical and non-medical services
  • They can link our clients to a range of mainstream (e.g. health) and disability services that may assist with ongoing rehabilitation and goal attainment

To continue this great work, PQSA hopes to raise $75,000 in 2017 to be able to extend the program into regional areas of South Australia. Your contribution will allow us to reach this target, and for this, PQSA is extremely grateful.