Marathon runners tour the lab to find out more about spinal cord research

On August 22, the Centre for Brain Research hosted a group of Auckland and New York Marathon runners who are running to raise money for CatWalk Trust and spinal cord research.

Every year CatWalk Trust raises money for spinal cord research with fundraisers participating in the New York Marathon.

However, this year CatWalk is also included as one of the Charity Heros in the ASB Auckland Marathon so Auckland participants can now also choose to fundraise for spinal cord research through CatWalk.

CatWalk was founded in 2005 by Catriona Williams MNZM, one of New Zealand’s leading equestrian riders following a riding accident that left her tetraplegic. CatWalk’s goal is to support research that might one day get people out of their wheelchairs and onto their feet.

Visitors to the Centre were welcomed by Dave Pretorious, Chairman of Catwalk, who talked about his dedication to helping researchers find a cure for spinal cord injuries, for people like his daughter, who has been in a wheelchair since the age of seven.

Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull, Director of the Centre for Brain Research, spoke about the importance of collaborative approaches to research and how this benefits areas like spinal cord research.

Principal Investigator with the Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility (SCIRF), Dr Simon O’Carroll, talked to visitors about some of the latest developments and the future directions of research at the Centre.

Following the speakers, groups of visitors joined the lab tours to get a closer look at what goes on in the world of spinal cord research – viewing slides of the human spinal cord and glimpsing cells under a microscope. Visitors were engaged by the experience which helped provide greater understanding of the research process.

A number of researchers from SCIRF are also in training to run the Auckland Marathon at the end of October and to help raise funds for CatWalk Trust and spinal cord research.