After an accident left her paralyzed, this woman started a physiotherapy charity

The Rooprai Spinal Trust makes physiotherapy accessible to people paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. 

Physiotherapy is a more hands-on approach than physical therapy, where health care professionals help patients with restricted mobility and strength.

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If you’ve ever visited Rooprai Spinal Trust’s Instagram, then you’ve probably seen the incredible progress its clients can make. With the organization’s help, adults and children are able to train their bodies to optimize their abilities and overcome physical challenges. But the award-winning charity’s first “success story” is its founder Marrianne Rooprai. 

In 2004, when Rooprai was 27 years old, a terrible car accident left her in intensive care. She fractured the C2 vertebrae at the top of her spine and crushed two more, leaving her paralyzed from the shoulders down. She clinically died three times. But a month after the accident, Rooprai made stunning progress — she could breathe without a ventilator. Then a month after that, she could get out of bed and use a wheelchair. 

Rooprai left the hospital seven months later with a new approach to life. She founded the Rooprai Spinal Trust to help others, as she continued to make her own progress. The Trust helps roughly 20 people a month in the U.K. get access to physiotherapy programs through scholarships. 

“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,” Rooprai told Charity Today. 

And the founder’s progress is ongoing and well-documented. Like in a video where she shows how she regained some of her upper body strength. At first, standing upright and holding objects was exhausting for Rooprai. But by the end of the clip, she was perfectly hitting tennis balls with a racket.

“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,” Rooprai told Charity Today. 

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If you found this story insightful, read about this disabled teen who raised money for an exoskeleton.

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