Spinal research group updates brand image

The International Spinal Research Trust has shortened its name to Spinal Research as part of a strategy to raise its UK profile.

The rebranding is in response to the development of new treatments to repair spinal cord damage that could potentially transform the lives of thousands of paralysed people worldwide.

Jonathan Miall, chief executive of Spinal Research, said: "We're repositioning ourselves as we want to be seen as more cutting edge and professional - it's about sharpening up our practices."

As part of the strategy, the charity plans to launch a capital appeal in spring 2003 to raise £7 million for a research and development centre.

Spinal Research is also raising its annual fundraising target from £1.6 million to £2.5 million over the next three years.

However, the fundraising target could change dramatically by tens of millions of pounds if any of the five treatments that are being developed come up for clinical trial. The charity estimates that this could happen within the next five years.

Spinal Research, which predominantly helps people who are paralysed through road traffic accidents or sporting injuries, plans to run a media and advertising campaign including posters to raise awareness about the importance of spinal research.

Gemma Quinn, who was paralysed from the neck down in a car crash at the age of seven and is now 18 years old, will feature in the campaign.

"What we've got to do is generate the human story and the message behind it," said Miall. "Then people will see that it's a highly audible programme to be involved in. Repairing the spinal cord is probably the biggest breakthrough since the heart transplant."

The charity will look at increasing its fundraising channels including corporate fundraising, money from trusts, direct mail and the use of legacy promotion for the first time. The campaign will be aimed at high-risk groups including the horse riding fraternity.

Spinal Research has a database of around 8,000 supporters, who are sufferers or connected to a sufferer. "There are a lot of potential donors out there that haven't registered with us - in fact more than 40,000 people in the UK are paralysed," said Miall.

The new logo is based on an arrangement of coloured dots that suggest the shape and structure of the human spine.

Latest research has identified new treatments, which could be transferred to patients with high-level injuries allowing them to regain movements in arms and hands or breathe unaided making a huge difference to their quality of life.

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