AIZAWL, Sept 5 - The Spinal Cord Injury Day was observed for the first time in Aizawl today. Wheelchair-bound people gathered in front of the Vanapa Hall here to mark the day under the aegis of the newly-formed Spinal Cord Injury Society of Mizoram (SCIoM).
SCIoM president Lalnunpuia Rivung said the recently formed organisation was looking for people with spinal cord injuries across Mizoram to become members. “Even those who do not have spinal cord injury but are confined to wheelchairs due to different reasons are also invited to be members,” he said.
At present, the society has about 100 members. Making use of technology, SCIoM members across the State are interacting via social media like Whatsapp and Facebook and conducting their meetings via video conferencing.
“Some people with spinal cord injury tend to develop mental depression due to their disability. Interaction through the social media can be instrumental in preventing them from developing depression,” he said.
A retired IAS office, Clement Liankunga also spoke on the occasion and shared his experience with spinal cord injury. He said that he broke his backbone in 1997 while playing lawn tennis. He underwent surgery at the CMC, Vellore, and was fortunately cured. “Doctors told me I was among the lucky 25 percent who get cured from such injuries. I feel so blessed that I am not confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” he said.
SCIoM treasurer Rami Renthlei, who is headmistress of a government middle school, also recounted how she suffered a spinal cord injury. She got it after she fell into a pothole while walking on a pavement. She said two persons fell to their death into the same pothole. “Many cases of spinal cord injury are caused by accidents which, however, can be avoided,” she said, adding that domestic violence is also the cause in a number of cases.
The SCIoM was founded by Dave Chhakchhuak, who himself suffered a spinal cord injury after falling from the steps near his house at Chhinga Veng, Aizawl, in 2009. He is currently undergoing treatment in Washington DC.