Trainee solicitor Zarenna Porter, 26, from Letchworth Garden City, took a leap of faith on Sunday 14th May as she abseiled the Arcelormittal Orbit at London’s Olympic Park - Europe's highest free-fall abseil to raise funds for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research in honour of her dad who is paralysed.

Commenting on the personal reason behind taking on this fundraising challenge, Zarenna said: “In July 2001, my dad (Michael) was knocked off his motorbike by an oncoming car as he left my grandparents’ house. He was rushed to hospital where it was soon discovered he had damaged his spinal cord at T6 and T7, broken his ankle and left tibia. I was four at the time. My dad spent 11 months in hospital.”

She added: “I think when you live with someone who has paralysis, it becomes the ‘norm’ and you sometimes forget how difficult life actually is and the additional challenges the individuals face beyond their paralysis. I’m also always keen to help others and this was a charity whose vision really resonated with me due to my own personal experiences of the challenges my dad faces each day. I also wanted to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries amongst my peers and colleagues and give aid to those with recent injuries who may be struggling adapting to their new lives.”

Commenting on her descent, Zarenna said: “I was very excited to do my first was an amazing experience!”

Spinal Cord Injury: Facts and Figures

  • A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, at any time.
  • Every 4 hours, someone in the UK, suffers a spinal cord injury.
  • Currently, 50,000 people in the UK, are living with spinal cord injury.
  • Treatment for urinary tract infection (a common condition associated with spinal cord injury) costs the NHS approximately £1 million per day.
  • Treatment for pressure ulcers (a common condition associated with spinal cord injury) costs the NHS around £3.8 million per day to treat.

Zarenna, who has raised over £2,200 for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research based at the world-renowned National Spinal Injuries Centre, Aylesbury, commented: “I’d love to firstly, thank my parents, family, and friends, who have shown an incredible amount of support and well wishes. I was so overwhelmed as to how quickly I was able to reach my fundraising target and then surpass it through the sheer generosity of those in my life.”

To sponsor Zarenna, please visit her fundraising page by clicking here. 

To take part in a fundraising challenge event, find out more here.