Merryn Thomas – Outstanding Achievement award winner 2014

Merryn Thomas

Merryn was presented with the award for outstanding achievements at this years HMS Back Up Ball.

Injured at 18, Merryn was studying towards her A-levels, returning home after attending a successful audition for Music College when she suffered a spinal bleed, leaving her suddenly paralysed whilst travelling alone on a train.  The resulting reduced hand function meant that she could no longer pursue a career as a musician.  Despite this, she remained positive and has since gone on to make a new start for herself.

Merryn got involved with Back Up when she attended wheelchair skills during her rehab.  After leaving hospital she returned to college to complete her A-levels and then starting working towards her new dream – studying French and Italian at University.

Having attended a multi activity course, Merryn gained so much that she decided she wanted to raise money for Back Up and threw herself out of a plane! Recognised as a great role model with her infectious positive attitude to life, Merryn trained as a wheelchair skills trainer and has worked tirelessly to help raise awareness of Back Up’s services.

Despite her high level spinal cord injury, Merryn has strived to live independently, surpassing her own expectations by going to live abroad for a year, completely on her own in France and Italy!  Living outside of her comfort zone and continuously pushing the boundaries of living with spinal cord injury, she overcame the daunting task of finding suitable accommodation and getting around in these beautiful but not particularly wheelchair friendly cities and is an inspiration to others.

On top of all this, Merryn still manages to squeeze in extra travelling, music gigs, festivals, and has learnt how to water-ski independently.  She was a fantastic role model on our Moving Forwards course in 2013, sharing personal experiences and helping others get back to living a full life.  Now back for her final year of University, we can’t imagine anything but a bright and successful future for Merryn – Huge congratulations!

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