Perry Cross

From dream to reality: coastal retreat for people with SCI

The chance to refresh, learn and connect in a place purpose-built for people living with a spinal cord injury? Before I made the journey to Sydney, Australia to stay at Sargood on Collaroy, the idea of a place like this was something I could only imagine.

Can you imagine a place where you enter the door to a calming, spacious area overlooking the beach, where no stone has been left unturned to make it fully accessible? That’s what I experienced at Sargood.

Located on an acre of elevated land overlooking Sydney’s beautiful Collaroy beach and the Pacific Ocean, Sargood is an architecturally designed resort that blends into the streetscape. With the very latest in adaptive technology, home automation, accessible equipment and daily living aids, it was designed with and for people with a spinal cord injury.

I stayed in one of the 17 apartments at Sargood. The apartments are roomy, self-contained and thoughtfully designed, to make stays as easy, comfortable and stress-free as possible. It blew me away. As well as spacious rooms, there are activities on offer which I haven’t seen anywhere else. Skilled therapists provide support during your stay, whether it’s recreation and leisure activities, therapies or courses. There’s also a state-of-the-art accessible gymnasium with the best gym view in town.

About that view – it’s pretty special. So are the staff at Sargood. Nothing is too much trouble for them. The experienced team is full of priceless information to make your stay enjoyable and stress-free.

Sargood is a place for people with a spinal cord injury and their families to get some much-needed respite, refreshment and relaxation. Staying there also provides the opportunity to build your confidence and skills to empower you to live life to the full.

When I was there, I met solo travellers and families. There are rooms that suit either individuals or families travelling together and all rooms enjoy views of either the garden or ocean. Yes please! A stay at Sargood gives the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in a beautiful, relaxed environment. It’s the little things that have been considered in the design of Sargood – things I haven’t seen anywhere else.

It was easy to connect at Sargood – with guests all people with a spinal cord injury, we had that common understanding and the right environment to raise topics that you just don’t bring up everywhere else. It’s a supportive place, where guests support each other to give new things a go.

The holistic approach taken by the staff at Sargood on Collaroy is about helping guests with a spinal cord injury be happier, healthier and prepared to tackle the next stage in their lives. It could be returning to school, study or work, continuing hobbies or starting new ones. It could be about maintaining social connections, starting a family or travelling. It’s whatever you want it to be. You might want to just chill out and relax. That’s OK.

I can only say again, that Sargood on Collaroy blew me away. The combination of community support, a benefactor, Foundation funding and management by an organisation with over 100 years’ experience in rehabilitation and disability support proves that yes, in fact, everything is possible.

About Perry Cross

Perry Cross travelled to Sargood on Collaroy from his home in Queensland, Australia. Perry is a C2 quadriplegic; he suffered from a significant spinal injury in 1994, aged 19 years old. An avid and highly talented rugby union player with a promising playing career in front of him, Perry’s injury occurred while he was trialling for a Queensland representative rugby side two years after he had completed high school.

He is the visionary, Founder and President of Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation (PCSRF), which has one aim: to find a cure for paralysis.

Christopher Reeve was the inspiration for Perry establishing the Foundation.