BeneficiariesThe Foundation offers assistance to hundreds of people every year. We do this in a number of ways, through direct grants, offering advice, assistance and mentoring to individuals, and also through financial assistance and input to like-minded organisations who share our aims and ethos.
Along with partners we are active within the community, offering programmes aimed at disadvantaged young people. Our support of SpecialEffect, a charity aimed at those with limited movement or who are locked in, is helping to get people to communicate to their relatives and friends and the on-line community through the use of technology and gaming. The Foundation is involved with initiatives involving the study of injury which will hopefully assist in it's prevention in the future.
We also have plans to be able to offer our beneficiaries some much needed time out from their normal environment where, they can either relax in a comfortable atmosphere or have some physio, hydro therapy, or exercise on specialist equipment in an adapted environment. We also support a number of our paralympians and potential paralympians and the Foundation are keen supporters of Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby.
If you would like to read about a few of our individual beneficiaries, please follow the links below...
My name is Tom Somerville and, like Hambo, I suffered a high-level spinal injury playing rugby, leaving me tetraplegic since 2003. At the time I was aged just 16 and had been an active sportsmen; playing cricket and rugby for clubs and school, and had recently been selected and played for Middlesex at County level. My injury happened in open play and I must have landed in the wrong position, as I was effectively crushed at the bottom of a ruck.
After a 9 month stint at Stoke Mandeville's spinal unit, where I received the best of NHS support, I returned home and to sixth-formcollege. Ironically my injury seemed to help me academically as my grades improved and I was offered a place at Warwick University to study History and Sociology. At this stage Hambo's foundation was still growing. I gained financial assistant from the Rugby Football Union's charity theInjuredPlayers Foundation whom actually recommended Hambo's foundation to me and helped put me in contact with them for my recent support claim.
I graduated from Warwick, with a first-class degree in History and Sociology, and after a few years of both working and a period of ill-health, I became interested in philosophy (spinal injury certainly makes you stop and think about yourself and the world around you!). In 2011 I took up a place at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, based at Kingston University, studying a part-time Masters in Philosophy and critical theory. At this stage the Matt Hampson Foundation was suggested to me as an active and strong supporter of positive, forward-looking disabled people striving to lead fulfilling and successful lives. After a friendly meeting with John Dickens, chief executive officer for Hambo's foundation, it was agreed that the IPF and Matt Hampson Foundation would basically split the costs of my personal assistants room in university halls and my tuition fees between them.
The support of the Matt Hampson Foundation and IPF, who recommended Hambo to me, has been essential in ensuring that I am not loaded down with debt like much of my generation. As I have a 24 hour personal assistant I obviously require two rooms at university; so effectively my costs are double those of the average student. Therefore the support I received is absolutely essential and ensured I could take the Masters, as I would probably not have applied without this vital financial support. In the long run I hope that the support of the Foundation will prove to be beneficial not just for me but for spinally-injured and disabled people in general; as I intend to use my skills and knowledge acquired to fight for disability rights and perhaps a career in politics or the public sphere.
The Matt Hampson Foundation is a vital support for those who have suffered life-changing injuries but who don't view this as meaning an enjoyable and truly meaningful life is impossible. The Foundation actively encourages those they support in really getting out there and fulfilling their potential, and Hambo himself is an inspirational example of a life lived to its fullest in the face of extreme adversity.
My name is Gareth Rees and I am a C4 tetraplegic, injured playing rugby in January 2011. I left hospital in January 2012 and am based in Warwickshire. Being C4 I have no movement below my shoulders and I drive my chair via a chin control.
What the Matt Hampson Foundation Has Done for Me
The foundation paid for a through floor lift to enable me to live in a house as I had always planned, instead of being forced into a bungalow. The foundation covering the cost of the lift enabled more adaptions within the house giving me a better lifestyle. Although this is a big financial contribution, Matt and everybody else at the foundation have been very supportive and encouraged me to get on with life, this is just as, if not more, important than financial expenses.
Many people say I'm an inspiration to them and that's exactly what Matt is to me. Seeing the things he has done since his injury gives me great hope and proves these things can be done. Matt came and visited me whilst I was in Stoke Mandeville, helping to show me there is a life when you leave the hospital
The foundation has also paid for my iPhone 4S, allowing me to be on a cheaper contract, keeping my monthly bills down. This version of the iPhone comes with Siri allowing voice commands in certain applications. This allows me to create messages and e-mails much quicker than typing myself with a mouth stick, or dictating to my PA.
I’m Bret Crossley, I’m 39 years old and live in Leeds. I was a successful motorcycle racer, winning over 130 races and 6 club championships, competing on short circuits and road courses in the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and at Oliver’s Mount Scarborough in England. It was at the latter however that in September 2006 I had a serious accident, colliding with another rider and being thrown off my motorcycle into a fence post at high speed. My injuries were numerous, the worst being a spinal cord injury (despite wearing a back protector) that has left me wheelchair dependent for life.
Alan is 35 years old and lives in Addlestone, Surrey. Originally from the Isle of Arran Scotland, he sustained a spinal cord injury when aged 28. Alan describes how he sustained the injury in his own words ‘ I was at a party in a friend's flat in Edinburgh and while dancing (badly) on the backrest of a sofa I fell backwards straight through a window into the garden two stories below. I broke 5 vertebrae that resulted in a complete spinal injury at T8.’ Alan spent 6 months in the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow.
Prior to his injury Alan had worked as a site engineer in construction, so he knew he had no realistic way of returning to his old job he says, ‘building sites are, by nature, not very wheelchair friendly’. He takes up his story, ‘I had always been active, I was a keen, albeit not extremely talented, rugby player and played for my local team on Arran as well as a brief time with Jersey RFC in the Channel Islands. I skied, climbed, sailed, and was always cycling. I was certain all these were now beyond my reach until I went on multi-activity course in the Lake District run by The Back-Up trust. While there I managed to get back sailing, I went abseiling, camping and even got a chance to try hand cycling’.
Through the kind support of family, friends, co-workers and a grant from the Aspire charity Alan eventually managed to purchase a recumbent hand cycle. Alan describes his first experiences with his new piece of kit, ‘It was extremely tough to start with, I was exhausted after just 2 miles! I remember a fantastic sense of achievement when I first completed a (very flat) 10 miles, and although I had to be helped back into my wheelchair afterwards, soon I was out cycling 3 or 4 times a week and cycling through some gorgeous Scottish countryside for 25-30 miles at a time. I'm in no doubt that the confidence and freedom gained from my hand-cycling lead to me eventually returning to the work place as a project manager for Spinal Injuries Scotland.’
Alan has raised funds for SIS with a gruelling hand-cycle from the Glasgow spinal unit to the Belfast spinal centre then onto the Dublin spinal unit and back again: 500 miles in 7 days! He recounts that; ‘at each spinal centre I was able to talk to staff and patients and show them my bike, they were as amazed as I was that I could cycle up to 90miles a day.’
The following year Alan took on an even greater challenge by signing up to the Deloitte Ride Across Britain: 963 miles from John O'Groats to Land’s End in just 9 days, camping all the way. His experiences weren’t all pleasant, ‘after 5 months of training 5 days a week for up to 6 hours a day, and after cycling up to 124 miles per day (nearly all in the rain!) I finally became the first hand-cyclist to complete this epic event, while very nearly ending up in hospital with a serious pressure sore for my troubles.’ Alan raised £5000 for Back Up, but he also used the ride to see how far he could push himself. He now feels that he has the potential to take his cycling further and he wants to enter the growing hand cycle racing circuit.The Foundation has assisted Alan by helping him to purchase a new hand-cycle so he can compete on equal terms at the elite level, he is a very determined athlete and we wish him luck on the circuit. Alan has recently agreed to assist the Foundation by raising funds through a sponsored cycle, watch this space folks for more news on Alan’s exploits in the future.
My name is Charlie Humphrys; I'm 22 years old and suffered a spinal cord injury whilst skiing on Christmas eve. I was then 21 and had just started my second year at Cardiff University where I was studying Sports Biomedicine and Nutrition. The injury unfortunately rendered me broken from the waist down.
I love sport and the previous 21 years had been full of tennis, competitive motocross racing and intense weight training. My goal was to hopefully enter the fitness industry with the qualifications but also the aesthetics and fitness of an athlete. However the nature of my spinal cord injury and the experience of hospital made me drop 4 stone in weight and added a large chunk of depression.
I did however take note of some hints the hospital experience gave me about how to approach life now! This was simply by talking to other people who through the nature of their injuries had been chair users for a long time. It occurred to me that many had become quite content not do much with their lives. Many didn't work, have hobbies or partners. However there were others who inspired me and gave me hope, they had jobs, played sport and didn’t see their disability as a barrier to normal life, and whilst speaking to these people you just forget that they’re even in a chair.
So I decided it was time to give life a go in a chair, I was becoming sick of feeling useless at home and I was bored and stuck with a low income and reliant on benefits. If I'm honest I felt embarrassed especially when I considered how all my mates were just beginning their Careers.
So when you’re in a chair and thinking about getting back to work, the stereotypical 'office job' appears the only option. I didn't want this as I've only known sport and fitness throughout my life and would find the hum drum of 9-5 soul destroying. So after a search, I managed to find a Personal Trainer’s course designed for people with disabilities, the course is organised by Aspire but run by YMCAFIT. Unfortunately I simply could not afford the course fees or the traveling costs from north Wales to London each week.
This is where the Matt Hampson Foundation has helped me out. They paid my tuition fees and traveling costs. The Foundation has literally got me back into employment in a gym. Although I still have a long way to go, simply put, I don't feel embarrassed about my situation anymore, my self-esteem has been restored because I am proud to show that just because I’m in a chair, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be as productive as before.
I feel Matt’s Foundation is brilliant in how it can directly help young injured people like me to live a normal life. I can't thank Matt enough for his help.
Charlotte enjoyed the walk so much that she promises to be back year after year, ‘This year was my first experience of the Walk 4 Matt; and for sure, it won't be my last’ she said.
So how did she find the walk? ‘Due to it being only my first year, and only 10 months post injury, I had decided to take part on the first day only (Saturday 19th). That first day was very tough. The paths were very narrow and tilted and I felt that I nearly tipped into the canal on a number of occasions! Then, just before lunch I got two punctures, fortunately, some lovely men from Leicester Forest Rugby Club helped me to get to a pub so we could fix the wheel’
So was it all walk and no play? Charlotte was extremely impressed with the social element of the walk, ‘the first evening was fantastic fun, a barbecue followed by some great music at the Heart of England pub in Weedon. The pub, owned by Marston’s was venue for lots of laughs and getting to know people on the walk. I also took up the job of selling the foundation raffle tickets, £400 raised in a matter of minutes!’
Charlotte returned home that night but vowed to go back and on the Tuesday was picked up by the Foundation and taken to watch the cricket match at Tring, another event which is held en route by the Foundation. She was pleased to be back in the thick of it again, ‘It was great to be back on the Walk 4 Matt! A great time to catch up with everyone again, including the man himself, Hambo! The cricket provided great entertainment from the likes of Harry Ellis, Paul Nixon, Phil DeFreitas and Charlie Dagnell amongst others. Even though we lost, it was great fun! By the end of the night I decided to return to the walk again on Thursday evening. A huge thank you must be said to all of you who help organise this!’
So how did the rest of the walk go? Charlotte was extremely impressed with the final couple of days, ‘it gave me another chance to meet some new faces on the walk who I hadn't previously met on the Saturday. I spent most of the evening with the London Irish boat crew and walkers, and what a fun bunch they are. There was more fun at a court session, overseen by His Honour Roy Jackson and a Walk 4 Matt quiz. The following day at 8:30 I was met, and taken to the walk start point, it was a blisteringly hot day and I set off with the London Irish boat team. I think I managed to get to the 6 mile point but unfortunately suffered another puncture so reluctantly had to pull out. At that point I hitched a lift to Brentford Lock so I could cheer on the walkers as they crossed the finish line. That evening we re-grouped at the Sun Inn in Richmond before the final push onto Twickenham! There we were met by Graham Rowntree and Mike Tindall, a big chance for photo opportunities! This also seemed the perfect time to get a few cold drinks and relax in the sun; but it was soon time to head off to Twickenham. We were greeted at the entrance to the West stand by none other than Matt Hampson. What a great way to officially end the walk!
After photos on the pitch, we headed to the Barmy Arms for lots of banter, laughs and a few drinks to celebrate the end of the week! This continued well into the early morning but I enjoyed every minute’
The Next day was the Aviva Premiership Final, so did Charlotte enjoy the atmosphere? ‘ It was a great experience and I was lucky enough to go on the pitch at half time, with Hambo and fellow walkers which was an incredible opportunity in front of a crowd of 82,000 people!’
Charlottes has some special memories of the walk so what did she get out of it? ‘Being on the Walk 4 Matt has given me some huge opportunities that I wouldn't have had prior to taking part! I can now positively say that everyone who I met on the Walk 4 Matt will have a special place in my heart as well as being friends for life, thank you to everyone who made this week possible for me. You are all brilliant! I look forward to seeing you during the Walk 4 Matt 2013!’
My name is Kevin Hartie, I am 35 years old and live in Essex. I've recently completed a Masters degree in psychology, and was recently offered a place at Birkbeck, University of London to study for a PhD in psychology. For my M.Sc thesis, I researched the psychological impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) on rugby players. I was interested to see how the injured participants’ cope with the life changing impact of SCI, from their perspective. Although participants’ had and continue to face many challenges, with hard work, strong support and focused goals they managed to find meaning and pleasure from life. For my Ph.D I will continue with this research in greater depth thanks to the generous funding I received from The Matt Hampson Foundation to support me through the duration of the course .
My story will be familiar to many people reading this. About 10 years, at the age of 23 I suffered a SCI playing rugby. I sustained a C4 fracture, and instantly, my life changed forever. The injury was severe, and I spent many weeks on a life-support machine paralysed from the neck down. As time went by, I regained movement, and was strong enough to breathe on my own, and was transferred to a spinal unit. After 6 or 7 months, I returned home to live with my parents, and a life that no longer seem familiar to me. It took time for me to adjust and adapt to my SCI, and I was fortunate to have the support, environment and patience of love ones to do so.
Since my accident I have managed to accomplish many positive things. I now live independently in a house I bought and renovated. I went skiing in Sweden with a charity called Backup, I returned to university and completed an MSc in psychology. Also with Backup, I trained as a mentor, giving me the chance to use my experiences to provide support to individuals with SCI. This is something I find very rewarding. New and exciting experiences are constantly appearing for me, for example, recently, I gave a presentation about mentoring and the work that Backup do, to a packed room, at City Hall in London. With determination and support I’ve rediscovered my place in the world, and look forward to many future opportunities.
Herve was born in exile and became a refuge by default. His parents moved to South Africa in 1997 and he has lived there ever since as a refugee. Herve was always a good student and was very much involved in sport.
In their quest for a more stable situation and a permanent home country for Herve, his younger brother William and their parents it was with such joy relief and happiness when France granted them permanent residency.
However on 22nd November 2010 just two days before their departure to France a car hit Herve whilst he was playing Football with his friends leaving him paralysed from the neck down. He was moved into an Intensive Care Unit and underwent spinal cord surgery a few days later. He was in hospital for four months before moving to a rehabilitation ward.
Despite the unthinkable the family decided to go ahead with the permanent home country residency opportunity and Herve’s mother and brother left for France. His only support in Groote Schuur Hospital was his father Materne Mwumvaneza who visited everyday sitting by his bed side and attending to his sons needs. This put the family in a terrible situation, the mother and brother in a new country but with a paralysed teenager who needed permanent care and an unemployed father whose time was taken up caring for his son.
We were made aware of Herve’s situation when Matt received a personal email from Emma Wylie a physio who used to work with Matt when he was in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Emma had taken a voluntary physio position on the only state-run, dedicated spinal cord injury unit in South Africa and one of her patients was Herve. Matt knew he wanted to do something to help Herve we just needed to work out how best the Foundation could do this.
As luck would have it Chairman of Trustees of the Foundation Roy Jackson had recently visited Cape Town for a friend’s wedding and had met up with Morne du Plessis (Chairman) and Gail Ross (General Manager) of the Chris Burger and Petro Jackson Players Fund (www.playersfund,org.za). Roy immediately contacted Gail who had already heard of Herve’s plight and the wheels were put into motion. Within weeks the Players Fund in South Africa had made their first grant to a non rugby related injury on humanitarian grounds to the fund to reunite Herve and his father with the rest of their family in France. They were also able to encourage other agencies including the French embassy to assist in arranging Herve’s safe passage to Paris. With the final donation of £5000 from the Matt Hampson Foundation there was sufficient funds for Herve and all the required medical personnel and his father to fly to Paris,and this is exactly what they did on Sunday 4th July 2011.
Message from Herve’s Father Materne ‘I don't know even where to start saying thank you not only from me but everyone in the family. We are still overwhelmed by this news. Miracles do happened and God has many ways to resolve problems, for us the Matt Hampson foundation will always be his angels he sent to us. We are extremely humbled by this donation and words can't be enough to convey our gratitude to everyone who made this happened.
We will keep you upto date with news on Herve’s progress when we have it but due to Matt’s quick intervention and a touch of luck the Foundation has played a huge part in reuniting Herve with his family but also probably saving this young man’s life.
Ben was a very promising rugby player with the Marist Club in Samoa. He had recently been selected for the emerging Manu Samoa youth squad. In January 2010, during a training run for an up-coming Marist tour of New Zealand, Ben suffered a horrific neck fracture which left him as a life-long tetraplegic. He has no feeling below his upper chest, and can only move his neck and head. The Samoan Health service is not equipped to take care of a tetraplegic, they have no wheelchair or hospital bed available for him to take home.
He recently had a short time at home, but contracted a severe infection from his catheter insertion and had to return to the hospital. One big danger is bed sores and other infections, with no proper electronic bed for his care, this danger is greatly increased. In the hot climate, once he contracts bed sores, they would be extremely difficult to heal, and can easily become septic. There is no Government or aid money of any kind available for someone in Ben’s severe condition. There is no surgery available at this time that can make any appreciable impact on his condition or aid to take him off-shore for rehabilitation.
Ben is a very deserving young man. He has to fight off pits of despair, yet at the same time remains extremely grateful for any help that is given to him. When he was offered to be brought a radio to listen to, he politely declined, saying that he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. The best way we can support him is by helping him return to his family, and have his family equipped to care for him. Ben’s family and village are extremely poor, even by Samoan standards. Ben is the oldest of 7 children, and his father earns around $80NZ per week. The family needs assistance to provide housing for his care and rehabilitation.
Matt heard about Ben through his good friend Freddie Tuilagi who is involved in the UK Marist Trust which was set up to raise funds for Ben here in the UK. The Tuilagi family have been big supporters of Matt ever since his accident in 2005 and on hearing about the plight of young Ben from Freddie and his brothers we wanted to help. In this instance we felt a financial donation was most appropriate and in February this year with the Foundation just few weeks old we made a donation of £2000 to the UK Marist Trust. The money will be used for Ben’s ongoing care and rehabilitation needs as well as helping with basic living expenses. The Foundation has pledged its ongoing support for Ben and we will keep you up to date on his progress with regular updates on this website.
Henry is a very talented teenager who had an accident in 2009 whilst on holiday with his friends. He ran into the sea, dived into the surf and damaged his spinal cord leaving him unable to move his arms and legs.
Henry is a superb athlete with a particular passion for rugby. He was a regular member of Dulwich College 1st XV and has represented the County,
London & South East Division and Saracens Academy. He is still training and still has lots of goals to achieve – just different to the ones he had before.