Firstly, for District Chairmen and Lions generally, it is important to note that Lions Australia Spinal Cord Fellowship and StepAhead Australia are two totally separate entities. The Fellowship is a Traralgon Lions Club project and StepAhead is an outside research organisation. The Fellowship raises funds from Lions Clubs in support of StepAhead activities.
Both Dr George Owen and his wife Barbara are Lions club members and the principals of StepAhead Australia.
There are currently 5 scientists who hold Lions Spinal Cord Fellowships. On request by the scientists for funding to StepAhead Australia, and after review by their Scientific Board, the StepAhead management committee considers the request to ensure it fits the Fellowship guidelines. Once approved, the Lions Fellowship committee receives a written request for the funds. It may be a request for supportive funding for a submission, equipment or research related travel.
Once approved by the Lions Fellowship committee, Lions funds are transferred to StepAhead for payment to, or on behalf of, the Fellowship holders in accordance with the request.
- StepAhead allows $5,000 per year per fellowship holder for travel which will enhance their knowledge on the treatment of Spinal Cord injury. For example … recently both the West Australian Fellowship holders visited the Reeves Irvine Centre in the USA to update their studies on animal behaviour and assessment post injury – cost $10,000. Reeve's Dr. John Mcdonald has been appointed to the StepAhead board.
- Our Fellowship holders in the StepAhead laboratory at St Vincents required a cryostat machine to cut fine pieces of Spinal Cord tissue. They were able to negotiate for a second hand one in excellent condition with a 1 year guarantee. Cost $15,000 (A new one costs in excess of $60,000.)
- A lap top was purchased for specific recording of scientific data for $5,000.