Formerly the captain of the Women’s U-19 Tamil Nadu cricket team, Preethi Srinivasan was a cricketer, an accomplished swimmer and a girl who was certainly going places. However, ill-fortune resulted in her former dreams taking a hard blow. Today, she is a quadriplegic who is no longer able to do all the things she once excelled at, but Preethi continues to be an inspiration to others despite all odds.
When did her life change?
Born in Chennai, nine years after her parents’ marriage, Preethi’s family moved around a lot. She was always a good student and excelled at almost everything she did. When introduced to the sport of cricket, she went on to captain the team in 1997 and enjoyed a victory. It would be just a year later when her whole life would change.
In 1998, Preethi had headed to a beach with some friends. When playing in the thigh-high water, she stumbled and fell face first. A thunder rocketed through her body. She couldn’t move and remained there till her friends pulled her out.
Rushing her to a hospital in Pondicherry, she was given an incorrect diagnosis and four hours later, on reaching a Chennai hospital, was diagnosed of a severe case of paralysis. From there, the downhill fall began. For an athlete and a person with her whole life ahead of her, this would be a hard fall. She slowly began losing her friends and couldn’t get into schools because they did not have facilities that catered to quadriplegics. However, none of this dampened Preethi’s spirit and till today, she has continued to be an inspiration to people.
Leading the Way to Better Things
It was after realising how poor the facilities for people with spinal injuries are in the state, that Preethi starter an organisation called Soulfree to champion this cause. Established to help the disabled, the organisation works to get in touch with these people and expose the hardships they have to face in their daily routine. She works to restore and re-integrate these people into society
Through this organisation, Preethi also hopes to create greater awareness among people. She seeks to provide a strong support system to women who live their lives in wheelchairs so that they can perform to their fullest capacity. Most often, people who suffer from such accidents usually lose their purpose and hope in carrying on with their lives, but Preethi works to ensure that these people are at least able to enjoy the basic quality of life.
How does she do this?
Preethi inspires people through the work of her organisation. She moves around giving powerful speeches and trying to garner better support toward improving the state’s infrastructure toward people who are disabled.
She has been able to provide support to women who suffer from severe disabilities by giving them a better life. Her motto is really simple. She believes that a person can only be successful if he needs nothing. She feels people need to be satisfied and happy just to be alive and should not allow any external changes to dampen this feeling.
Preethi always says one should not be afraid but should be inspired and that is the mantra that drives Preethi to be an inspiration for people who have almost lost the will to survive.