InSPIRE-ing group of people

August 04, 2017

SPIRE member's Margaret Cranko and Sue Mancini.

Robyn Heazlewood and Sandy Mitchell.

Geoff Thomas, Amanda Smart and Chris Cranko.

Shepparton’s Spinal Injury Resource and Support Network members came together to share tips and tricks for living in a wheelchair at a monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Known as SPIRE, the group gives people the chance to meet others in similar situations and gain a better quality of life through supportive relationships.

Almost a year old, members were eager to catch-up and celebrate their achievements at Shepparton RSL.

SPIRE’s Geoff Thomas has been a member of the group since it started in September last year and came to be in a wheelchair after a cycling incident more than 12 years ago.

Mr Thomas said SPIRE offered him and other members the chance to share concerns and listen to different guest speakers who focus on areas such as health, finance and pain management.

Shepparton’s Margaret Cranko joined SPIRE after suffering a spinal bleed early last year, which left her paralysed from the waist down.

‘‘It’s been hard to get used to and that’s why the support group is so good,’’ Ms Cranko said.

‘‘They’re wonderful, it’s very hard when you have an injury like this because people just don’t understand what it’s like and it’s marvellous to have other people who are on the same wave length, who have the same problems.’’

Mr Thomas said anyone was welcome to attend SPIRE meetings.

‘‘You don’t need to be in a wheelchair,’’ he said.

Shepparton’s Sandy Mitchell has recently started attending SPIRE meetings again after her husband Rodney died.

Mr Mitchell was an active member of the group and enjoyed being involved.

Mrs Mitchell said it was early days, but she was happy to be attending meetings again and seeing the people who offered her husband support.

SPIRE will hold a special information session on the National Disability Insurance Scheme on Wednesday, October 4, at the Peppermill Inn Hotel, 7900 Goulburn Valley Hwy, Kialla. Everyone is welcome to attend. For information, contact Geoff Thomas on 0428292421.

To find out more about SPIRE, go to or

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