This guy, who suffered a tragic injury, wants to give people a day off work to raise money for SpinalCure Australia

Photo: The Big Day Off/ Vimeo.

Give your staff a day off work and you’ll be helping someone walk again.

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and SpinalCure Australia are urging businesses to sign up for an innovative new fundraiser for people who’ve suffered spinal injuries.

The Big Day Off was inspired by 21-year-old James McQuillan who became a quadriplegic after a collision during an AFL match last year.

McQuillan, a 20-year-old physiotherapy student at the time, was playing for the Albury Tigers, when a routine collision on field caused an unstable fracture of his C5 vertebrae, ultimately damaging his spinal cord.

Even from his hospital bed a month after the accident Quill – a nickname from his mates – maintained a positive attitude. He told The Border Mail on April 30, 2014, “I’m determined to get stuck into my rehabilitation, and my main goal is to complete my physiotherapy degree, however long it takes.”

Three months after his injury, Quill was in a manual chair. While it was “hard yakka” to begin with he says he got better at it quickly and started to get some strength back in his arms.

“At first it was pretty hard to come to grips with… It’s quite different from what I had planned, and it’s a bit frustrating because I was quite happy with where I was going, but it’ll be good still,” he said.

One year on, he now hopes that this charity raffle will become a long-lasting fundraiser and support the quest for a cure.

“When I was injured the whole community rallied around to support me and my family,” he said. “It is wonderful how this has grown into an initiative to help others with spinal cord injury across Australia.

“To join in, anyone can go online and register their business or nominate their workplace. Then people can start thinking about how they’d spend their Big Day Off doing something they love, and spread the word on social media like Facebook and Instagram.”

When businesses sign up they donate a number of days off for staff into a raffle and employees can then buy entries into the draw to win.

The day off isn’t taken out of annual leave, or deducted from pay slip, it’s simply a reward to supporting the good cause and raises money in the process.

“SpinalCure and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia are so grateful to the Big Day Off,” says Duncan Wallace, CEO of SpinalCure.

“It’s such a simple and fun concept, created by some passionate people in a regional community inspired by James McQuillan! With the support of businesses from around Australia the Big Day Off could emulate fundraising successes like Movember and affect monumental change in the lives of people with spinal cord injury.”

“[And] it doesn’t cost businesses anything to participate, all the administration is managed by the Big Day Off, and businesses can build staff morale and engagement by supporting such a worthwhile cause,” added Peter Perry, CEO of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

The Big Day Off initiative runs until 30 June 2015, with winners from each registered business being drawn electronically on 1 July 2015.

Find out more about the charity, or register, go here.

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