History of LASCF

In 1998 Dr George Owen arrived to speak at a Traralgon Lions Club meeting, looking merely for financial support for his organisation – the Spinal Cord Society of Australia (SCSA). He spoke of disturbing statistics that put 1 Australian a day into a wheelchair suffering from either paraplegia or quadriplegia. Most of these unfortunate people are young and suffer their injuries from swimming hole accidents, sporting injuries and car crashes.

Doctor Owen spoke of the goals of the Spinal Cord Society epitomised by their slogan “Cure, Not Care”. In most developed nations, the standard of care for people confined to a wheelchair is such that they can generally live long and productive lives. This burden falls as much on the carers as it does on the health system and the desire is to get them walking again. The Society had embarked on a scientific journey to find a “Cure”.

Doctor Owen’s address affected the Traralgon Lions members sufficiently to have them seriously consider spreading the value of support for the Society and their research throughout their District and hopefully to the wider Lions community. A small committee set about convincing District V3 to adopt support for the Society as a District project.

That was achieved and with District support, the Lions Spinal Cord Fellowship was born 18 months later when Australian Lions adopted the Fellowship as a Multiple District project (Category C) at the Perth Convention in 2000. The committee then set about making a serious attempt at raising funds and providing information to the more than 1400 Lions and Lioness clubs in Australia. The growing enthusiasm of our Lions family for the project saw it become a major Australian project at the Hobart Convention (Category B) in 2003.

Since the Fellowship began in 2000, the Lions Clubs of Australia have raised over $m1.9 for this magnificent humanitarian Lions project. Through StepAhead, a number of Scientists/Clinicians have been admitted to the Fellowship and funds raised have helped establish facilities and fund results based research.