The Canadian Spinal Research Organization (CSRO) (charitable registration # 11915 9515 RR0001) is dedicated to the improvement of the physical quality of life for persons with a spinal cord injury and those with related neurological deficits, through targeted medical and scientific research. The CSRO is also committed to the reduction of spinal cord injuries through awareness programs for the general public and prevention programs for targeted groups.
To find a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury or other neurological deficits.
The Foundation of the CSRO
The CSRO is currently in its 31st year as a charitable organization. The CSRO began when a few brave souls spoke out and asked, why can’t there be a cure? The charity was built over 20 years ago on the premise of hope. An unyielding belief that one day, there would be a cure for paralysis.
In 1982, Ray Wickson was involved in an accident that changed his life, leaving him paralyzed. Although this was a difficult time in Ray’s life, who had just turned 30, he wasted little time feeling sorry for himself. While recovering at the Lyndhurst Rehabilitation Centre, Ray began to inquire about the possibility of finding a cure for paralysis – what had been done up to this point medically? Ray learned that since 1945 through the 1980’s, there had been little spinal injury research done. Previous to 1945, before the advent of penicillin, spinal cord injuries were often fatal, as victims would die of infection.
Ray was stunned when he discovered that most doctors believed paralysis was permanent. In 1987, Ray connected with the current chairman of CSRO, Barry Munro. Barry, who was a patient at Lyndhurst at the time, banded the other patients together and invited Ray back to Lyndhurst as a guest speaker. However, Lyndhurst refused to have Ray as a visitor, as he represented “hope’ and would “ultimately create false optimism for patients”. Barry, as equally determined as Ray, found alternative methods of getting him access to the building. That meeting would lay the foundation of the CSRO.
Initially, operating out of Ray’s house, the charity generated approximately $25,000 in the first few years. Ray, who was used to negativity from outsiders, began to realize that there were actually dedicated people working in the clinical and scientific field around the area of spinal research.
Currently, one of Ray’s jobs is to act as the President of Neurological Technologies for a company that acts as an advisor to the CSRO. His vision started over twenty years ago is being realized. Since then large advancements have been made in the field of spinal cord research. He is also quick to point out that SCI’s may only affect a small population; yet, research now also benefits other conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis.