A Royston woman who has a “superhuman level of determination” has been included in a list of the most influential disabled people in the UK.
Marrianne Rooprai, who became paralysed from the shoulders down after she was involved in a car accident in 2004, now features on the Shaw Trust Power 100 list.
Since being introduced, the highly-regarded list has recognised other inspirational people, such as Baroness Jane Campbell, who is a crossbench peer and disability campaigner and
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes.
Marrianne’s steely determination and approach to her rehabilitation continues to surprise her medical team and helps inspire others with similar injuries.
After seven months in the Sheffield Spinal Unit, Marrianne returned home to rebuild her life and the Rooprai Spinal Trust was born.
Funds raised by the charity support paralysed individuals to access life changing physiotherapy, as well as aiding the research world in their quest to reverse paralysis and improve the quality of life for those with a spinal cord injury.
In 2019 RST supported an average of 20 people a month in the UK to access specialist physiotherapy via its scholarship programme and they hope to surpass that in once the COVID situation is under control.
Sharon Hart, RST’s Co-Founder and Trustee, said: “Marrianne has not only showed a superhuman level of determination in her own rehabilitation, she has inspired and facilitated the rehabilitation and recovery of hundreds of people who have suffered spinal cord injuries.
“Marrianne is the face and motivation behind a fantastic charity. Rather than sit back and become something of a ceremonial symbol for RST, she is extremely hands-on with every aspect of the charity and her passion for helping people has been essential to its growth over the past few years. We’re extremely proud that she’s been included in this list and think it’s completely deserving for someone who is so committed to helping others.”
Marrianne added: “It’s a huge honour to be included in such a prestigious list, although I must admit I certainly don’t feel powerful. I do what I do because I am absolutely committed to showing people coming to terms with paralysis that there is light at the end of the tunnel”.
“I hope my story inspires others, and while my injury means my life path is very different to how I’d imagined, I still have that same zest for life and I still love travel – it’s just a lot more of a challenge.”
The multi-award winning Rooprai Spinal Trust was set up over a decade ago after Marrianne Rooprai was left paralysed from the shoulders down following an accident. The entirely voluntary organisation has raised over £1 million to date.