Presentations in English
RYK – Rygmarvsskadede i Danmark
The Danish Spinal Cord Injuries Association
The Danish Spinal Cord Injuries Association is a nationwide self-advocacy organisation for people living with a spinal cord injury and their families, together with SCI healthcare professionals and others who have an interest in the area of SCI. The association, which has its own statutes, forms a special-interest group within the Danish Association for the Disabled.
The association was founded in 1972 by Bodil Eskesen (1913-1996) the chief physician and consultant at the Copenhagen University Hospital’s clinic in Hornbæk. The underlying idea behind the new association was to work for the centralised treatment of people with a spinal cord injury. This original idea still guides much of our work.
In 1979 the association began to publish a quarterly magazine for its members.
There are an estimated 3,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in Denmark. Every year around 130 people sustain a spinal cord injury either as a result of an accident or as a consequence of illness.
At the end of 2011, the association had 1,300 members.
The dissemination and exchange of information is central to our activities. Our main channels of information to our members are the quarterly magazine RYK! and our website ryk.dk.
The association has published a wide range of information materials for people with SCI including a “user’s manual” on paraplegia and tetraplegia – and its companion publication that presents a number of interviews with our members describing different life stages of people living with SCI, from the initial reactions to the injury to the issue of ageing with SCI. We have also published a “sex guide” for persons with SCI and their partners, and the target audience of our latest publication is the family – partners, parents, children and siblings – of people with SCI.
Courses and seminars
The association holds regular seminars and theme days on topics that are relevant and interesting for people with SCI.
In July every year, members and their families gather for a one-week course held at Egmont Højskolen in Jutland. This residential course offers teaching in a wide range of subjects from leisure activities and sports, crafts and creative activities, to personal development techniques etc. It also includes a social programme of lectures, music, dance and other activities.
Our sponsors hold regular evening events for our members and, again, these span a range of topics from the purely social to the educational and informative.
Finally, the association is involved in arranging a number of activities for those undergoing rehabilitation at one of Denmark’s two SCI clinics in Hornbæk and in Viborg.
Exchange of information
The association has a long tradition of exchanging experience and information between members. This exchange is invaluable for people living with SCI and their families – especially for the newly-injured or newly-diagnosed who are embarking on a life with many new and unknown challenges. The exchange of information is seen as an important part of all the association’s courses and seminars, and RYK! magazine and our website provide forums in which the experience of living with a spinal cord injury can be shared.
In close collaboration with researchers and healthcare personnel throughout Denmark, the association works continuously to improve the treatment and rehabilitation services for the country’s 3,000 people with SCI.
Comprehensive information about the association can be found on ryk.dk. The website includes a members’ forum for questions, answers and discussion; for families there is a database of contacts to family members of people with SCI who are willing to talk about various issues they face.
The website is also the home of “T-basen”, a registry of restaurants, hotels, churches, museums over the whole of Denmark. The registry gives detailed information about accessibility for wheelchair-users and others with impaired mobility.
Membership and further information
If you would like further information about the Danish Spinal Cord Injuries Association, you are very welcome to contact our office or one of the members of our board.