Duncan James, member of British boyband ‘Blue’, actor and theatre star, has been appointed as the first ever ambassador for Cauda Equina Champions Charity (CECC).
CECC is a patient led charity, striving to raise awareness of Cauda Equina Syndrome and support people living with the condition.
Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a serious condition where the nerves in the lower part of the spinal cord become compressed. It causes lower back pain, numbness in or around the genitals or back passage and pain in one or both legs. If not treated in time, it can lead to further problems including paralysis of one or both legs, bladder and bowel disturbance and problems with sexual function.
The new charity was founded in January 2020 by CES sufferer Claire Thornber, who said "We are launching a national awareness day on the 1st October 2020 to help everyone spot the signs with ease and confidence. So many people with CES are turned away, or misdiagnosed, but raising awareness of the first signs is absolutely crucial, especially amongst healthcare practitioners and anyone suffering from acute lower back pain and sciatica. We are so pleased to have Duncan James on board our mission. He is incredibly kind, caring and has always spoken so honestly about his own personal experiences, and with his support moving forward, we hope to give more hope to our members, shine a light on the red flag symptoms and help people get diagnosed quickly."
Duncan James still has no feeling in parts of his left leg and foot after he developed CES. "I had a slipped disc when I started" he says, "but I didn't know it was so serious. As the show went on, I had injections for the pain."
"I should've listened to my body, but I thought the show must go on. Then one day I woke up and couldn't move. The nerve started to die. I was told I may not walk again and might have to wear a colostomy bag for life. When you've been a healthy guy, something like that makes you realise you're not immortal."
Duncan was back on stage at the end of 2019 for the musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert. "It's been a long three years" he says "But I'm excited to be in this show – and in heels. It's made me realise how much I love to be on stage."
Find out more about Cauda Equina Champions Charity and Cauda Equina Syndrome by visiting their website. Or to talk to our specialist team about help, support and the best legal advice to navigate your future, guaranteeing that you have the funds you need to cover all your future medical, equipment and care needs, visit their hub page.