Teleflex for active living: people up close – Martin

Improving people’s quality of life and health is the central theme of our Teleflex Urology Care business unit. For many years now, Teleflex Urology Care has supported events and sponsorship activities with its “Teleflex for active living” initiative, where we interact with users of our products. With our new series “Teleflex for active living: people up close”, we aim to introduce you to some truly impressive individuals from different countries. Today, we’re talking to Martin from the United Kingdom.

Teleflex for active living: people up close – Martin

Martin Hibbert (47) is the Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), a Motivational Speaker and has been named one of the Top 10 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK. Martin was seriously injured in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing and sustained a T10 complete spinal cord injury. During his time in rehab, he was introduced to SIA and felt he would like to give something back to the charity after all the support he received. In 2022 Martin set out to climb Kilimanjaro and raise £ 1m for SIA. Since then Martin has made it his mission to raise awareness about the complexities of spinal cord injuries.

What does your everyday life look like, both professionally and privately? What is your touchpoint to the topic intermittent catheterisation?
I’m currently Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association and a Motivational Speaker. Life is very busy and I don’t stop! Im married to Gabby and we have a Cocker Spaniel called Alfie.

I was seriously injured in the 2017 Manchester Arena Bombing and sustained a T10 complete spinal cord injury, so I am paralysed from the waist down.

I use intermittent catheters and have done so since being in the spinal unit in Southport in 2017.

Let’s have a closer look on you: What is your story we share today with our readers?
Please let us know about the path you have gone and what makes it special? Which extraordinary moments did you have?
After sustaining a T10 complete spinal cord injury in the Manchester Arena Bombing, I was in hospital and a spinal unit for just short of 5 months.

During this time I was introduced to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), whose mantra is that all spinal cord injured should live a fulfilled life. This resonated with me – and given the support I had to get through a difficult time – I wanted to give something back. I became a Trustee in 2019 and was asked to become Vice President in 2022, just before I set out to climb Kilimanjaro to raise £ 1m for the charity. After we had made the summit my story went worldwide and I was able to raise awareness about the complexities of a spinal cord injury. 12 moths on and I’ve met the Disability Minister Tom Pursglove to help him to understand the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis. I’ve also recently been named in the Top 10 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK.

What is the biggest challenge for you in everyday life and what is the greatest opportunity? How do you get motivated or inspire others?
I always say that it’s not the spinal cord injury or the wheelchair that makes me feel disabled it’s people’s perception of disability and what they think I can and cannot do. As I said to Tom Pursglove it’s staggering the amount of places I cannot get into just because I’m in a wheelchair. Hotels, bars, restaurants, cinemas, the list is endless. In 2024 this is not acceptable and I’m trying to change that.

If we look back, what are you most proud of for what you’ve done? And why?
Climbing Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair and raising just over £920k to date for SIA. I’m still hoping to reach £ 1m in 2024. Just thinking about what this money will do for people with a SCI makes me very proud. Also raising awareness about SCI means more people will know about it and in the long run will hopefully change perception and attitudes towards disabled people.

I’ve also written a book – Top of the World which is being published and released on the 25th April 2024. You can pre-order it on Amazon. I’m hoping this book will inspire both disabled people and able body people. It’s a book about my life and how I haven’t let what happened to me in 2017 define me. I hope the book inspires, motivates and educates people.

Being named in the top 10 most influential disabled people was also a very proud moment and makes me very powerful when talking to government officials and praising awareness about the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis.

What would be your wishes for the future? In general, but also in particular regarding the topic of intermittent catheterisation?
To see disabled people in the UK being integrated fully into society. Being able to travel without being questioned and getting into retail and hospitality venues without prejudice.

I also hope to see a cure for spinal cord injuries and I’m excited about all the research being done and potential cures just round the corner.

There still isn’t a wide range of options when it comes to intermittent catheters and the problem of reoccurring UTIs etc means that I am always in hospital at least once per year with sepsis.

Do you have tips for everyday life, work, travel and leisure in terms of intermittent catheterisation?
Find a catheter that allows you to go about your daily routine as normal. It is like a military exercise having to time everything around your bladder routines, but once you are comfortable with it you can go about things as normal. Just have to make sure you have access to a toilet which is not always the way in the UK.

Your personal closing word for our readers?
My personal mantra is dream – believe – achieve and I would say to everyone if you want anything in life, go out and get it.

Martin, many thanks for these interesting insights, and all the best for the future.

Image source: private

The provided product information is the personal opinion of the interviewed person and is not a substitute for the product instructions for use. Please always contact your doctor when you have medical problems.