Christa Dyson works to support the spinal cord injured community through her work as a mentor, a trustee to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), as a patient representative for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research and as a patient representative for her local GP surgery. She blogs about her experience living with a spinal cord injury.
Christa was spinal cord injured in November 1993 following a spinal stroke. Initially paralysed from the mid-chest down she went on to recover some mobility but never in her hands. She lives life as an incomplete tetraplegic and an unsteady 'walker'.
Sustaining her injury whilst living in The Netherlands, it was there she undertook all her early rehabilitation, first in the Sophia Revalidatie Centrum in The Hague and later in De Hoogstraat, Utrecht.
She has since gone on to live in Oman and the USA, returning to live in The Netherlands in between. She is married, has brought up two children, has traveled extensively, worked continuously in the voluntary sector and supported numerous charitable ventures whilst living abroad.
In 2011 she returned to live in England and has since undergone a short period of rehabilitation at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville.
She set up Focus Forwards early in 2012 as a platform to work from, using her overseas experiences and skills acquired to help support the spinal cord injured community.
In November 2012 she was elected into her first term as a Trustee for the Spinal Injuries Association, based in Milton Keynes, UK. She was re-elected to serve a second term in November 2015. In 2018 she was co-opted to the SIA Governing board. In December 2018 she was appointed as Senior Vice Chair to the Board of Trustees.
She presently serves on the SIA General Council, their Govering Council and is a Director of SIA Enterprises.
In April 2013 - October 2014 she was invited to join the James Lind Alliance Spinal Cord Injury Priority Setting Partnership as a patient representative on behalf of the Spinal Injuries Association.
In July 2014 - July 2016 she was invited to join the Stoke Mandeville Spinal Unit User forum as a patient representative.
In March 2016 - November 2017 she was invited to participte as a patient representative in a research study investigatng women's issues arising after spinal cord injiury led by the National Spinal Injuries Centre and Bucks New University.
In February 2017 she was partenered with an assistance dog called Vann through the charity Dogs for Good, Banbury.
She presently serves a a patient representative to her local GP surgery in Berkshire.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" - Helen Keller