A.N.Z. supports spinal injuries

The A.N.Z. Bank Samoa staff spent the majority of Thursday in wheelchairs to support employee Vern Lusiano. The bank also donated $10,000 to the Samoa Spinal Network (S.N.S) to mark World Spinal Cord Injury Day.

A.N.Z.'s Samoa Regional Country Manager, Bernie Poort, told the Samoa Observer that World Spinal Cord Injury Day on 5 September was a chance to support S.S.N's work with people with spinal injuries in Samoa and to support their employee, Vern Lusiano.

A programme marking the event is planned at Taumeasina Island Resort this weekend.

"For us, we’ve got one of our best employees, young Vern who is in a wheelchair and today was about giving the staff that work around him an opportunity to spend a couple of hours in Vern’s wheels and see what it's like to actually be in a wheelchair and come to work and serve customers every day,” Mr. Poort said in an interview with Samoa Observer.

“Significant day for us, we’ve obviously had a bit fun with a few wheelchair races and some excellent coaching from the spinal network on how to operate the chairs. And the guys will stay in the chairs for the whole morning and get a first-hand experience of life in a wheelchair."

A.N.Z. employee and S.S.N member Vern Lusiano told the Samoa Observer that he was very happy and thankful for the support the bank had shown him.

"I am an ANZ employee; I use a wheelchair and they show their support for me, not only for this day that has been called Vern's on Wheel, but every day,” Mr. Lusiano said.

Mr Lusiano explained that A.N.Z. has prepared a lot of things for him, such as his workstation by adjusting his desk and making his wheelchair accessible to locations within the workplace and during programmes at work.

The President of S.S.N, Asomua Epenesa Pouesi Young stated: "We thank God for the donation that we have received from ANZ and their staff which is a huge help for us to commemorate World Spinal Cord Injury Day on 5 September which is this Saturday."

"The theme for that day is COVID-19 and Spinal Cord Injury Staying Well, it's not just Samoa it's the whole world,” she said.

“This Saturday we will commemorate this day at Taumeasina and all the members will be there for the programme."

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