Spinal injury cure Noela’s focus
The Spinal Cord Society was established to raise funds for research.
Noela Vallis says her motto is to cure.
‘‘We have so many people that look after and care for the injured, but we needed something to help these people come back from injury and that’s where the cure part comes in,’’ Vallis said.
The 74-year-old has spent more than 26 years striving to make a difference.
Her interest in spinal cord injury arose in 1984 when her late husband was paralysed.
She initially spent 10 years fundraising for a United States charity, then decided New Zealand needed its own spinal research institute.
By 2003, she had raised $ 1.5 million to house the Spinal Cord Society and has gone on to fund stem- cell research.
Vallis was apprehensive about being singled out and said there were ‘‘many good people doing good things’’ that should be recognised, but said it was ‘‘ really nice to be recognised’’.
MOTIVATION: Spinal Cord Society President Noela Vallis holds a picture of her late husband and motivation, Keith.