Raising Funds for Spinal Cord Injury Supportive Care and Research

Cycle For SCI Co-founders Ciara O'Sullivan (R) and Larissa Clifford (L)

Cycle For SCI Co-founders Ciara O’Sullivan (R) and Larissa Clifford (L)

United Spinal Association has been named a beneficiary of the Cycle For SCI fundraiser created by Ciara O’Sullivan and Larissa Clifford, who are bicycling from New York City to Orlando, Florida beginning in September to help improve the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI).

O’Sullivan’s sister, Siobhan, who is the inspiration for Cycle For SCI, sustained a C5 SCI in a 2013 ziplining accident.

“Siobhan’s injury helped to motivate us to take action because we were able to see, firsthand, how a spinal cord injury can completely change the way of life for someone. We continue to see how much spinal cord specific rehabilitation helps Siobhan become more independent each day and improve her life in a multitude of ways,” said O’Sullivan.

One of the major issues that Siobhan has faced is complications due to nerve and back pain. She had to be readmitted to Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation last year to manage the pain.

Siobhan O’Sullivan

Siobhan O’Sullivan

“I don’t think people realize how much pain can be associated with spinal cord injuries. Trying to pinpoint the cause of pain with specific spinal cord injuries and how to treat it, is such an important area to us. We hope that some of the raised money can be used to help people reduce the amount of pain they experience on a day to day basis,” said O’Sullivan.

With support from United Spinal, O’Sullivan and Clifford are utilizing Cycle For SCI as a platform to advocate for improved quality of life and independence for individuals with SCI.

“We chose to partner with United Spinal Association because we believe that quality of life for people living with spinal cord injuries is one of the most important things to advocate for after an injury,” added Clifford.

The duo will be teaming up with some of United Spinal’s 50-plus chapters along their bike route to host fundraising events and raise SCI awareness. United Spinal and its participating chapters will share 50 percent of the donations raised through the campaign.

O’Sullivan, 31, and Clifford, 32, became friends while attending Florida State University and moved to New York City in 2009 to pursue careers in the craft beer industry.

Siobhan O’Sullivan

Siobhan O’Sullivan

Bartending in New York and Philadelphia has introduced O’Sullivan and Clifford to a network of people who fully support the goal of Cycle For SCI.

“Without the help of our service industry community, none of this would be possible. We are floored with the amount of support we have received from the craft beer world and are so thankful for all of their help,” said O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan and Clifford have received significant support from One Mile House and Stout NYC, where they currently work. Barrier Brewing Company in Oceanside, NY brewed 70 kegs of a collaboration beer with them specifically for Cycle For SCI and distributed it across Manhattan. For every pint sold, United Spinal and Cycle For SCI receive $3 directly for their cause. The Cycle for SCI campaign has also received assistance from Ellington in The Park NYC, The Brewer’s Art, Will’s Pub Orlando, Common Wealth Brewing Company, and Twisted Cypress Brewing Company to host events and support their ride.

For more information about Cycle For SCI, visit www.cycleforsci.org, email cycleforsci@gmail.com or call (347) 903-3806. You can follow the campaign on Instagram, Facebook @cycleforsci.

If you would to make a donation, visit https://www.cycleforsci.org/donate. Proceeds will go to support United Spinal Association community programs and services, as well as spinal cord injury research.