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The Vodafone Warriors will support not only the #RiseForAlex cause but also the New Zealand Spinal Trust during their 20th-round NRL clash against Manly at Mount Smart Stadium tomorrow (4.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Suzuki).

Owners Eric Watson and Sir Owen Glenn, the board, players and club as a whole made a $20,000 donation to the #RiseForAlex Fund last week.

With the NRL’s official #RiseForAlex Round falling during their away match against Brisbane, the Vodafone Warriors have taken the opportunity to back the charity at their home game this week.

At the same time the Vodafone Warriors will support the New Zealand Spinal Trust through activities including collections at the ground and an auction launched on earlier this week.

Strong bidding on the ‘Vodafone Warriors Wicked Weekend’ lot has topped $3000 so far. The auction closes at 12.00pm on Monday, July 28, with all proceeds split between #RiseForAlex and the New Zealand Spinal Trust.

Proceeds from the collections will be shared between #RiseForAlex and NZST.

Vodafone Warriors members and fans can also buy #RiseForAlex wristbands at the stadium tomorrow. These will be available in the D Zone.

“We’re doing all we can to support both #RiseForAlex and the Spinal Trust,” said Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah.

“We know how passionate our members and fans are and we hope they get right behind the cause tomorrow and give generously.”  

New Zealand Spinal Trust chief executive Ben Lucas said the trust was grateful to the Vodafone Warriors for recognising the organisation and also the “RiseForAlex cause.

“We were saddened by the injury sustained by Alex McKinnon but we know Alex can and will be able to lead a full and satisfying life as a tetraplegic,” he said. 

“Society has changed its attitude toward spinal cord injury and disability and opportunities are available today that weren’t there even 10 years ago.

“Alex can return to work, get married and do many of the things he did prior to his injury. He is in a fortunate position to be a role model for people who have had a spinal injury and in the process, help others who are going through the same scenario of the major life-changing event that is a spinal cord injury. 

“The positive attitude that Alex has showed will reflect on those closest to him and he will enable him to live his life and make the most out of his situation.”

After breaking his back at the third lumbar vertebrae in 1989, Lucas and took up wheelchair racing, winning a bronze medal the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games.

“Before my injury I could do 10,000 things. Now I can do only 9990 of them!” he said.



New Zealand Spinal Trust empowers people with a spinal cord impairment to live independent, confident and productive lives, right now!

We do this by listening to each person carefully, honouring their story and in the process, bringing hope to their journey. Then with persistence and challenging, we help them transition while remaining true to themselves.

The New Zealand Spinal Trust (NZST) is a long-established organisation having provided pioneering, highly specialised and intensive programmes to people with a Spinal Cord Impairment for the past 20 years. 

The NZST is a National organisation providing information, services and support to patients, their families and whānau. The NZST provides services such as;

  • The ‘Kaleidoscope’ Vocational Rehabilitation service working out of both the Burwood and Auckland Spinal Units.
  • The provision of educational information through the Allan Bean Centre Library.
  • The Connecting People - Peer & Family Support service and Volunteer Programmes.
  • Involvement with policy development at Central Government level, the direction of the Christchurch re-build and intensive involvement in the Burwood Hospital re-build.
  • Actively advocating for independent living for all SCI people. 

The organisation employs a total of 18 full-time and part-time staff and has a turnover of just under $1 million per annum.

There are 90-120 new serious SCIs every year. About 45-50% go through the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit and about 50-55% go through the Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of SCI accidents with falls having now overtaken sporting injuries as the second highest cause of SCI in New Zealand which is aligned to New Zealand’s ageing population. Mountain bike accidents are the leading sports cause of SCIs followed closely by horse riding and then swimming (diving).

About 35-40% of new inpatients are non-accident in that the SCI is associated with conditions such as spinal tumour, transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord), or Guillian Barre disease (inflammation of the peripheral nervous system).

The NZST is a service based organisation that has little opportunity to generate income. Our Kaleidoscope programme does generate an income, but not enough to cover its own programme costs, let alone subsidise other parts of the business. 

The New Zealand Spinal Trust and its team are passionate about helping people with a Spinal Cord Impairment to get back to independent living; we have the programmes and the team along with the results to prove it.


Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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