A project launched to help a Scottish sports champion paralysed in a freak accident is to be turned into a full time fundraiser for the benefit of others.
The 22 Initiative aims to assist other injured sports people and promote safety in sport, especially among the young.
In September 2015 international motocross racer Sean Doherty, suffered life changing injuries during a race in Clackmannanshire which left him paralysed from the chest down.
Family, friends and complete strangers rallied round with a fundraiser, – named in honour of Sean’s race number – to buy the popular sportsman a £12,000 specialist all-terrain wheelchair so he could continue to live as independently as possible.
Since the accident, and despite his injuries, Sean has continued to coach emerging motocross champions while using his 25 years of experiences to guide others.
Earlier this year the fundraiser was called upon to help bring home mountain biker Darren Scott after he was seriously injured while competing in a world championship event in Switzerland.
The 50-year-old suffered two broken ribs, injuries to his back and pancreas and internal bleeding who led to a clot forming in his chest.
Within days of an appeal being launched more than £20,000 was raised to help bring Darren back to Scotland and aid his recovery.
Both Sean and Darren are now keen to see the organisation that helped them provide aid and assistance to others.
“When I broke my back I went overnight from being an active sportsman to somebody in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Getting help from the 22 Initiative meant so much more than just the money that was raised,” said Sean.
“The support I was given helped me keep in touch with friends I had known for decades. It gave me a reason to look forward and took some of the stress out of the situation my family suddenly found itself in.
“That was as important for my mental health as anything else,” said Sean who is now backing the 22 Initiative to help other people from minority sports who get injured.
“Mainstream activities, like football and rugby, have a lot of financial backing but a lot of free sports are not so well supported by national agencies,” said Sean
“Safety is paramount but all the equipment in the world can’t stop a freak accident. I was wearing safety kit but it didn’t save me from breaking my back.”
The 22 Initiative aims to be in a position to help people from less publicised sports – such as motocross, mountain biking, hill running, hiking, surfing, snowboarding, skiing and such like – if something bad happens. It will also actively encourage safety and awareness in an attempt prevent injuries.
“It meant so much to me to get help from people, many of them strangers, after I was injured in Switzerland. It’s time to try and give something back, to pay it forward and help others,” said Darren, who is a five time Scottish Motocross Champion and winner of the Scottish Open Championship and Scottish Series Championship. He was also fourth in the World Mountain Bike Championship.
“The 22 Initiative is keen to support safety in sport and, if necessary, help injured individuals who need specialist assistance,” said Darren.
“People can find out more about the 22 Initiative and how to help by visiting www.22initiative.com
For more information on the 22 Initiative please contact firstname.lastname@example.org