Take care, be aware – that’s the simple, yet potentially life-saving message of a new Summer Safety Campaign launched by the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation on the Gold Coast today.
Mayor Tom Tate, Olympic Swimmer Giaan Rooney and Chief Lifeguard Warren Young are among those throwing their support behind the initiative, which hopes to shine a light on the risks locals and tourists need to be aware of while at the beach and pool, or on the roads this festive season.
Spearheaded by Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation founder and C2 ventilated quadriplegic, Perry Cross, the Summer Safety campaign is also about educating Gold Coasters about spinal injuries, in an effort to save others from suffering a spinal cord injury of their own.
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Mr Cross says he hopes the awareness campaign will not scare locals, but rather inform and educate them to play it safe on the coast this Summer.
“Everyday in Australia, one person is injured through a spinal cord injury and those injuries are life long. There is no cure of paralysis. The aim of the Perry Cross Foundation is to fund medical research to find a cure and we encourage everyone to stay safe on the beach this summer,” he said.
“Take Care, Be Aware, know the risks, look after your mates, swim between the flags, drive safely on the roads and swim safely in backyard pools because spinal cord injury changes people’s lives… and we don’t want to see any injuries on the Gold Coast this Summer.
Mr Cross says it is devastating for someone like himself to know that anyone is injured with a spinal cord injury on the Gold Coast, especially when most injuries are preventable.
He says falls, water related incidents and road trauma are the common causes of spinal injury.
“In Australia, approximately 400 new cases of spinal cord injury arise each year and although it can happen to anyone, young men in the prime of their life are the most at risk,” Mr Cross said.
“Water based activities like diving into shallow water or jumping head first into pools and the surf, as well as road-related aspects like texting and driving, can have devastating consequences. A small lapse of judgement or concentration can change a life forever.”
Gold Coast Private Emergency Care Centre Manager Stuart Thompson-Coleman says he expects to see an increase in injuries over the summer period, and is pleading for Gold Coasters to freshen up on their CPR skills.
“We have many recreational activities here on the Gold Coast such as trampolines, bikes and others wheel based activities… most of them result in minor injuries and abrasions, but sadly there are some occasions where some of those injuries have life-changing effects on some people,” he said.
“We advise people on the Gold Coast to try to reduce the risk of serious harm, we encourage people to take part in CPR courses, or to just be aware of what to do, because it could potentially save a life.”
Mayor Tom Tate echoed the pleas of the other experts, and desperately called for Gold Coasters to put safety first this Summer.
“This summer don’t be a statistic,” The Mayor warned.
“Take care, be aware. Look after your mates… If you’re going out together, who’s the designated driver? Think ahead, forward plan. If you see someone swimming outside the flags, give them a yell ‘Ahoy get between the flags'”.
“Sometimes we forget when we’re enjoying ourselves, but staying safe and looking after your mates is always number one.
“So enjoy this summer break, but please look after your mates and family.”
For more information on the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation and the Summer Safety Campaign, click here.