Spinal in­jury cure Noela’s fo­cus

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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’’.

Photo: MATA­MATA CHRON­I­CLE

MO­TI­VA­TION: Spinal Cord So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Noela Val­lis holds a pic­ture of her late hus­band and mo­ti­va­tion, Keith.

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