Walk On – The Remarkable Life of David Prast

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on April 05, 2022 # News

By Guest Blogger: Peter Murray

The life of a remarkable quadriplegic from Perth in Australia, has been recognized through an inspiring new book, ten years after his death.

Walk On – The Remarkable Life of David Prast ‘tells of one determined man who saw inadequacies with the rehabilitation system and did all he could to fix them. Like his friend and professional colleague, Christopher Reeve, David became a quadriplegic after an accident – he was 29 years of age, and his accident was just three months before Christopher’s, in 1995.

As soon as he left the hospital, David decided that his life would be devoted to helping others. He was inspired by Christopher’s leadership and efforts to promote both research to find a cure and to highlight the value of exercise in the rehabilitation and recovery stages after a spinal cord injury. Like Christopher, David educated himself about the science around SCI and his capability to effect change grew exponentially. He was soon attending the Society for Neuroscience and International Spinal Cord Society conferences in the USA, meeting and challenging the world’s leading researchers to do better and make their research more applicable to people like himself.

The book showcases how David initiated innovative projects to fund the quest for a cure for paralysis and how he broke through barriers to establishing the Walk On specialist exercise program, now known as NeuroMoves, which operates in centers across Australia and substantially contributes to improved quality of life for many facing the same challenges David and Christopher did

It also highlights David’s dedication and drive, supported by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and other international bodies such as the Canadian Rick Hansen Foundation, to establish the International Campaign for Cures of Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis (ICCP). This work, over a ten-year period, increased collaboration between spinal cord injury researchers from around the world – and this legacy continues today.

David constantly challenged the medical establishment to improve and demanded that researchers engage with people living with his injury and collaborate much more in the search for a cure.

In many ways, David Prast was Australia’s ‘superman’ – he led a whirlwind life until a tragic accident ended his life in 2011. He is the only person ever to be a board director of both Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, a peak body supporting people with spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions for over 60 years; and SpinalCure Australia, established 25 years ago with the sole aim of finding a cure for spinal cord injury through the promotion and funding of medical research.

David PrastAt the book launch on March 10, 2022, Duncan Wallace, Executive Director of SpinalCure Australia, commented, “David understood that if you can get the clinicians and scientists collaborating and ensure you have the evidence, you can transform people’s lives. He would be truly excited to see NeuroMoves being part of the next leap in spinal cord injury treatment. We are now launching Project Spark and our eWalk trial, which build on the NeuroMoves service by combining it with spinal cord neurostimulation.’

David’s success and legacy was his ability to connect and bring people together and his enormous energy and drive as an advocate for people with disabilities.

Walk On – The Remarkable Life of David Prast, not only traces David’s life and legacy it provides a broad insight into the lives of people living with spinal cord injury. A number of reviews already received have indicated that the book is an informative and easy read for not only those affected by SCI but also for the general community. It provides a valuable contribution to raising awareness of the impact of SCI and highlights the work being undertaken around the world searching for a cure and for ways to support those living with paralysis.

The book can be purchased in both paperback and e-book Kindle versions from Amazon.

Peter Murray worked as a senior manager for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) from 2010-17 and he has continued a role as a part-time Senior Advisor since this time. He has spent the last five years researching and writing Walk On – The Remarkable Life of David Prast – and he considers it a privilege to be able to share the story of David’s remarkable life.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.