Kilmarnock woman raises £10,000 for spinal research in memory of cousin paralysed in road accident

Family and friends of a Kilmarnock man who died four years after being paralysed in a car accident have raised £10,000 for vital spinal injury research to mark what would have been his 30th birthday.

Jamie Hay was just 16 when he suffered life-changing injuries after the car he was a back seat passenger in came off the road. The promising footballer from Hurlford was wheelchair bound and tragically died in 2014 after contracting sepsis.

His cousin Natalie has since organised a series of fundraising events including 10 and 5k runs and race nights to keep Jamie’s legacy alive and support research into spinal cord injury.

Now, on what would have been Jamie’s 30th birthday, family and friends came together at Hurlford Community Centre for a special charity night to celebrate his life.

Natalie, 28, said: "It wasn’t just Jamie’s family but a lot of his old school friends and the local community who came together for what was a really special night. It was ten years since his death and it would have been Jamie’s 30th so we definitely wanted to do something special. I was just completely overwhelmed by people’s response and the generosity of individuals and local businesses whose contributions to and support for the raffle and silent auction was brilliant. I can’t thank them enough."

Every four hours someone in the UK is paralysed after a spinal cord injury. It can happen to anyone at any time. Natalie, a police officer in Police Scotland’s mounted division, is an ambassador for the charity Spinal Research, the UK’s leading charity funding research into the repair and restoration of the spinal cord to cure paralysis.

Chief Executive Louisa McGinn said: "Natalie is an inspiration and a brilliant ambassador for Spinal Research. We’re very grateful to her and Jamie’s family who have done so much in his memory. To have raised £10,000 from this event to celebrate what would have been Jamie’s 30th birthday is something special.

"We’re in touching distance of function restoring treatments for people paralysed after a spinal cord injury and we really appreciate every single donation that brings our vision of curing paralysis a step closer."

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