On March 31, big and small businesses, politicians, leading sporting codes, sports stars and well-known media personalities came together to launch The Big Day Off, a nationwide initiative designed to raise funds to support and fund research for those affected by spinal cord injury. We were delighted to help generate awareness of this fantastic initiative.

The Big Day Off is the brainchild of a group of business people from Albury NSW, who were motivated by the plight of a young AFL player, James McQuillan, who became a quadriplegic in 2014 having sustained an injury during a game.

It is a simple and innovative concept that all takes place online. Businesses allocate a set number of additional paid days off. Staff then buy raffle tickets to win the extra days off, with all proceeds raised going to spinal cord injury support services and research. Entries for both employers and employees close midnight 30 June 2016. Employees who have won days off will be notified on 1 July 2016.

Jon Retford, Chairman, Big Day Off said the Big Day Off helps address an often ignored problem:

“Every day in Australia someone is told that they may never walk again due to a spinal cord injury. The reality is that science will deliver a cure; the only question is when. In the meantime, we need to help people cope. The Big Day Off gives us all an opportunity to address both problems, provide practical help now and bring closer the day they can walk again.”

Speaking at the launch, former Newcastle Knights’ player Alex McKinnon, who suffered a spinal cord injury during an NRL game in 2014, said it is a fantastic concept:

“The Big Day Off is such a great initiative and it’s so easy for businesses to get involved. When I suffered a spinal cord injury, my life fundamentally changed. Having the right support structure around me was, and continues to be, vital to my ongoing recovery. But this all comes at a cost.”

This year, ambassadors of the Big Day Off include former Parramatta Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh, Greater Western Sydney Giants’ Jack Steele, former Wallaby Adam Freier, jockey Damien Oliver and Network Ten’s Sandra Sully with Australian Rugby League and Cowboy’s Co-Captain Johnathan Thurston and RedBalloon’s Naomi Simson also supporting the cause.

Businesses who have already signed up for the Big Day Off include the NRL, AFL, Johnson & Johnson, Slater & Gordon, Master Builders’ Association, Lloyd’s Australia, Wilson Transformers, Joss Group, Medicines Australia and Dutch Media.

Funds raised from the Big Day Off will be split between Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, which provides services for people living with spinal cord injury; SpinalCure Australia which funds cutting-edge research into treatments for people with spinal cord injury; and other local groups supporting people with spinal cord injury in their community.

To sign up or for more information visit:

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