My mission to cure paralysis
Rosamund Urwin
1 Jun 2011

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"Charitable" isn't the first word which usually springs to mind when you think of a Goldman Sachs banker.

But Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster, who left the investment bank at the height of the financial crisis, is now a rising star in the not-for-profit world. Her charity, the Walkabout Foundation, has won the backing of both former and fantasy Presidents (Bill Clinton and Martin Sheen) and she has walked hundreds of miles to fund its work - all while living off her savings.

Walkabout, which she founded with her elder brother Luis in August 2009, has two goals: to distribute wheelchairs in the developing world and to help find a cure for paralysis. The 28-year-old knows the pain of spinal cord injuries only too well: Luis was left paralysed from the chest down after a car crash in 1994. He had finished school just two weeks earlier.

"Sometimes I think: 'Why him? Why us?'" Carolina admits. "Everything changed overnight. People don't realise that when you have a spinal cord injury, you lose control of your bladder, your bowels, your sexual functions. You have pressure sores, circulation problems, respiratory problems.