CatWalk Trust - Official Charity Partner

The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust

CatWalk was founded in 2005 by Catriona Williams MNZM, formerly one of New Zealand’s leading international equestrian riders. Following a riding accident in 2002, she is now C6/C7 tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. Initially, a group of friends planned to fundraise for Williams herself – but a bigger picture quickly became clear. A cure for paralysis was Williams’ dream – and so CatWalk was born.

Catrionas’ illustrious equestrian career saw her reach the pinnacle of the show jumping and three-day event world. She represented New Zealand on the international stage at Badminton and the Open European Championships with the key target being the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Since that life changing moment in 2002, Catriona has completed the New York City Marathon and climbed to Everest Base Camp on a handcycle, was a finalist in the 2014 KiwiBank New Zealander of the Year, recognised in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours list as a Member of the New Zealand order of Merit and most recently was the Community and Not for Profit sector winner at the NZ Women of Influence Awards.

Thanks to research previously funded by CatWalk donors, a number of novel treatments have had positive results in the research laboratory. We are determined to see these treatments transferred to the clinic and to achieve significant improvements for people living with an SCI.

Vision

A world free from spinal cord injury (SCI) paralysis.

Mission

Dedicated to supporting innovative, world-class SCI research to cure the spinal cord after an injury. We are determined to translate these discoveries into treatments which restore, movement and feeling to those injured. We need capacity and investment to challenge boundaries, with targeted funding and global collaboration, research exploration will accelerate to enable those living with SCI to walk again.

The Injury

In most cases, SCI paralysis is caused by an intense trauma to the spinal cord. As a result, nerves are disrutped and the cells around the site of injury are destroyed.

The split-second impact results in the formation of a lesion which affects the ability to move limbs as well as secondary complications which create a number of health related problems.The consequences last a lifetime with ongoing health problems including neuropathic pain, infections, pressure injuries, mental health issues, and bladder, bowel and sexual disfunction.