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Farewell to an inspirational advocate and friend

Monday, December 12, 2011

It is with great sadness we report the loss of our friend and colleague David Prast who passed away on 22 November 2011.

Amongst his many achievements, David was a leading advocate for spinal cord injury research. He led the lobby to the WA State Government to establish the Neurotrauma Research Program, funded initially by the Road Safety Council. It was the first such initiative in Australia and began in 1999. The program continues to fund research today.

Internationally, David helped to pioneer the International Campaign to Cure Paralysis (ICCP), an affiliation of spinal cord injury research charities around the world. David presented at a number of international conferences including the ICCP sponsored Clinical Trials Symposium in Vancouver 2004. An ICCP panel of leading experts developed a series of guidelines for the conduct of clinical trials for spinal cord injury, which were published in the journal Spinal Cord in 2007.

David was a director of SpinalCure Australia as well as Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA). He was passionate about providing spinal cord injured people with access to intensive exercise in the community. SCIA launched the Walk On program in Brisbane in 2008, with Sydney following in 2010 and Perth in 2011. David was also a member of the interim Steering Committee, which set up the Spinal Cord Injury Network in 2008. Subsequently, he would lend his support whenever he could and stayed in touch with the progress of the Network. He was a welcome visitor to many seminars and events. David’s enthusiasm for medical research was extraordinary and will be greatly missed.

David was always generous. He gathered friends wherever he went and his networking ability, not surprisingly, was second to none. He enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life whether they were politicians, researchers, or just people in the park. He loved music and good red wine.

David’s legacy lives on. We will miss him immensely. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Michelle, and family. To offer tributes or condolences > more.



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