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Maritimo supports spinal injury research efforts

by Paul Wilson 8 Jun 06:04 UTC
(L to R) Chad Lemming, Ross Willaton and Tom Barry Cotter after the hotlap run © Maritimo

A Gold Coast businessman and his family have had the experience of a lifetime successfully bidding for a Maritimo Racing Experience and fully catered cruise at a recent charity function for the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation on the Gold Coast.

Chad and Lisa Lemming, their son Jett and a family friend, Kimberley, were guests of Maritimo this week for a day on the water which saw Chad do 200 kilometre per hour laps in the Maritimo race boat off Surfers Paradise while his family looked on aboard a Maritimo M51 flybridge motor yacht.

Chad and Lisa had successfully bid for $9000 for the experience at the charity event which saw more than $200,000 raised for the Foundation.

"We do whatever we can to assist Perry and his foundation because it is such a good cause and to then get a once in a lifetime experience like this is absolutely brilliant," said Chad after his race boat run.

He was taken on the ride of his life by long term Maritimo Racing driver Ross Willaton before the party then enjoyed a leisurely Gold Coast Broadwater cruise complete with seafood buffet lunch and champagne.

Maritimo Designer, Tom Barry- Cotter said the company was delighted to get behind such a great cause and had also now included the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation logo on the teams boats for the remaining rounds of the 2019 Australian Offshore Superboat Championship.

"Perry is an inspiration and the team he has assembled to conduct the global spinal injury research are making strong head roads into their ultimate goal and that is to find a cure and improve the quality of life for people suffering from paralysis."

Perry Cross said the Foundation relied on support from the community and the inclusion of the Maritimo Racing experience at the Foundation's recent 25th anniversary Gala event resulted in a remarkable injection of funding.

"We are inching closer towards a cure for paralysis and have invested in an international team of scientists and medical professionals on the Gold Coast to progress the 'Spinal Injury Project' -a stem-cell research therapy that has shown proof in principle results of a cure," he said.

"It's not a question of if there is a cure, it's a matter of when and we're striving to ensure funding doesn't limit its progression or pace. We're aiming for a human clinical trial as early as the end of 2020.

"When a company such as Maritimo comes along and genuinely wants to support and assist in raising awareness for a cure, it's just unbelievable. We're grateful for their support and also to Chad and Lisa for investing in the once in a lifetime experience, which supported our cause."

This year marks 25 years since Perry's own personal accident, making the support from Maritimo even more special. As a young, fit and energetic 19 year old Perry Cross went into a football tackle and moments later, his life changed forever. He was paralysed from the neck down and became a C2 ventilated quadriplegic. Unable to breath on his own, feel or walk.

Amidst the heart-break, grief and pain somehow Perry carved out a new lease on life after his accident and within a few years, became one of the world's most inspiring motivational speakers and spinal research advocates - with one mission, to find a cure for paralysis. He has since dedicated his life to helping others, raising awareness of spinal injuries and creating a movement that has seen tens of thousands of people applaud, recognise and support the need for urgent research to cure paralysis.

Perry has been heralded by media worldwide as a tremendous role model for the human spirit in overcoming the odds.

In 1996 - just two years after his accident, he became Australias first motivational speaker on life support and was runner-up in the prestigious International Communicator of the Year Awards. He's been awarded Suncorp Young Queenslander of the Year, finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Awards, was the first quadriplegic to complete a Communications and Business degree at Bond University.

He has travelled to the United States as an advisor to the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of young Australians and met his look-alike, the late Christopher Reeve to discuss research and raise awareness and funds towards a cure for paralysis Perry met with the Governor General and Prime Minister as an envoy for Reeve, lobbying the legislation of Stem Cell Research.

The Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation has raised and injected over two-million dollars into the 'Spinal Injury Project' currently based at Griffith University and played an integral role in rallying support from the Queensland State Government, which resulted in an additional five million dollar funding towards the project.

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