Neil Sachse with jersey
Neil Sachse with his fateful AFL jersey

Former footballer now lifelong wheelchair user Neil Sachse is launching ‘Project Discovery’ to raise money for ground-breaking spinal cord treatment.

Forty years ago Sachse suffered an injury in just his second professional AFL match, which left him a quadriplegic. After two decades being told his life would never be the same, he decided to start the Neil Sachse Foundation (NSF), championing research into treatment and recovery best-practise.

“A groundswell began in Australia about the issue and I decided if more people like me don’t get involved in finding a cure it will never happen,” Sachse told PubTIC.

In two weeks (11 May) Hurley Hotels will be hosting the launch fundraiser for Project Discovery at the Arkaba Hotel ahead of what Sachse hopes will become a national tour in aid of the foundation’s goal of $3 million in three years.

Jenny Hurley_headshot“Neil’s foundation has done some amazing things over the years, but with the SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) Neil is hoping to make a real difference to diagnoses & treatment of Spinal Cord injury, and maybe eventually a cure!” said Jenny Hurley.

The NSF has previously funded a $1.5 million research project at Flinders University that pioneered a pivotal study of ‘Schwan’ cells, and has secured educational kits into primary and secondary schools across Australia on awareness and first-aid for spinal injuries.

“We are trying to get the program adopted internationally,” furthered Sachse.

“Our concept is to make kids aware of the dangers before they reach that age where think they are invincible. If we save one or two, we’ve done our job.”

Arkaba Hotel, Adelaide

Project Discovery is developing ground-breaking techniques using PET (Positron Emission Tomography), which is anticipated to be able to measure functional response to treatments. This improved observation – likened to the comparison of a still photograph versus a 3-D video – will provide more accurate diagnosis and prognosis, and fine-tune spinal cord treatments.

Hotels wishing to help Project Discovery should visit the NSF website or contact nice-guy Sachse directly on +61 448 667 347.

“If 100 people call, I will be happy to talk to all of them,” said Sachse.

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