For the first of my 'Inspiring Ability' segments, I have had the privilege to interview the remarkable Marcelle Mancuso. A lady from Brazil who has gained international recognition for her story for showing what a person can achieve with the right attitude despite being faced with little hope. Now, through her growing online presence and audience appreciation on YouTube and social media, Marcelle provides advice and motivation as a health and fitness inspirational figure to all who connect with her. Please read below to see the transcript of our interview:
Ollie- 1. What is your name?
Marcelle- Answer: My name is Marcelle Mendes Mancuso.
Ollie- 2. Where are you from?
Marcelle- Answer: I live in São José do Rio Preto, in the State of São Paulo, Brazil.
Ollie- 3. What are you favourite hobbies?
Marcelle- Answer: I really like to play sports including running and jump rope ... I also love watching movies, reading books and going out with my friends.
Ollie- 4. What do you do for a career?
Marcelle- Answer: I finished law school last year; I am still studying to improve myself and in order to take a postgraduate degree.
Ollie- 5. Have you always wanted to be a model?
Marcelle- Answer: I have done some small jobs in my city as a model but never as a professional! I find being a professional model to be very difficult as there are already many beautiful women in Brazil.
Ollie- 6. Tell me about your background growing up as a child.
Marcelle- Answer: I was always a very kind child and loved to play, ride a bicycle, lived with skinned knees and was always very cheerful.
Ollie- 7. Tell me something interesting about you that makes you different from everybody else.
Marcelle- Answer: After suffering my accident, I now consider myself to be a happier person and I always try to help people who are going through difficult times! I believe that my mission is to help and to pass positivity and inspiration.
Ollie- 8. What, and who do you love and why?
Marcelle- Answer: I love my life, my parents, my family, my friends and God. I love all the people who have been with me during the worst time of my life, because I think that love is this, it is you taking care of someone and holding their hand at all times.
Ollie- 9. What happened to you when you were 21 years old?
Marcelle- Answer: I had a very serious accident at a gym in my city! I went to do a head-up abdominal that my personal trainer passed to me, and the band that held my feet broke ... I fell headfirst on the floor and broke the fifth vertebra of the cervical spine which resulted in me having a spinal cord injury. I was immediately quadriplegic. I had to undergo a high-risk surgery to realign my spine. I had the possibility of death, but the surgery was necessary in order to try have a possible rehabilitation as I had lost all of the movement and feeling from my neck down.
Ollie- 10. How did this affect you at the time?
Marcelle- Answer: I was afraid, it was a new situation for me which I never imagined happening to me. But for some reason, I felt that God was holding my hand and somehow I knew that everything was going to be all right. I tried to stay calm for my parents.
Ollie- 11. What did it feel like to have a disability so quickly, having not had one before?
Marcelle- Answer: I was frightened by this new world that I was discovering but I always believed that everything happens in life for a reason, either to evolve mentally or spiritually... they are missions that are given to us. Often, we do not understand but we need to accept them to be happy; to continue living and to evolve.
Ollie- 12. At first, what helped you to cope with your new circumstances?
Marcelle- Answer: My faith and all the support I had from my friends and my family helped me to always keep my head up and fight.
Ollie- 13. How did you recover emotionally and physically?
Marcelle- Answer: Emotionally I say that I was never sad about what happened, I always celebrated being alive and I always saw every day as a new chance to win! Physically, I had the help of many professionals: doctors and physiotherapists who helped me in rehabilitation! I was very persistent and resilient too, I would wake up to give my best and celebrate every little move that I made.
Ollie- 14. How did you remain positive during your recovery?
Marcelle- Answer: I always put it in my head that life should continue regardless of how we are! As long as you're alive, you should be thankful for every new day from you when open your eyes! Every day is a chance to be happy, a chance to fight and an opportunity to try follow our dreams! God does not give easy missions to weak soldiers... and we must honor our challenges by not giving up on living! I always have this in my thoughts.
Ollie- 15. How did you learn to walk again?
Marcelle- Answer: With much persistence, my feeling of sensation and ability to move started to return. I was leaning on furniture, getting to stand up slowly; walking with a walker; then walking with crutches; walking whilst holding my parents hands and when I saw the wheelchair I soon put it behind me!
Ollie- 16. What are you able to do now?
Marcelle- Answer: Nowadays I can do everything, run, jump rope, ride a bike, go to the bathroom alone, dress alone, eat alone, take a bath alone ... I returned to the same life I had before the accident! I am grateful to God every day for all my victories!
Ollie- 17. How has your view on life changed and why?
Marcelle- Answer: Today I see life from a totally different perspective! I can understand that we do not need all that much to be happy! I feel that we should be thankful for every victory like: getting up out of bed, walking, brushing our teeth etc. People complain at times over very small problems! I believe that our purpose on Earth is always to help people, to do good, to plant good and to learn to be happy with what we have! Gratitude is the most beautiful form of happiness and prosperity.
Ollie- 18. What are your goals for the future?
Marcelle- Answer: I intend to write a book in the future to tell my story better and to inspire people to not give up on living.
Ollie- 19. What advice would you give to people with disabilities and are struggling to cope?
Marcelle- Answer: I would say that you should continue to live your life and to be happy every day! As long as you're alive, there's always a chance to succeed so keep on fighting forever! God certainly has a much greater purpose than we can understand. What we call "life" is just the beginning!
Ollie- 20. Finally, if you had three wishes in life, what would they be?
Marcelle- Answer: This is a difficult question! 1. I wish all people were of a good heart. 2. I wish that there would be no wickedness or wars! 3. I wish that all illnesses and injuries were curable, and especially that all people knew how to be happy and grateful for life.
From her thoughts and expressions in this interview, it's clear to see that Marcelle Mancuso is someone who has faced a tremendous life-changing experience. However, she did not allow it to get the better of her and en up dwelling on negativity when she easily could have done so. Rather, she used her newfound circumstances to launch herself onto bigger and brighter things! Now she is stronger, happier and more focussed than ever before with a clear view on what she wants out of life. How beautiful it is that her main goal is to help others and encourage them to find happiness no matter what, as she has learned to do!
She signs off with this poetic statement:
"When there is life, there is chance. When there is chance, there is struggle. When there is struggle, there is resilience. When there is resilience, there is life. Be resilient in what makes you happy: this is living."
To show support for Marcelle you can follow and speak to her yourself on
Instagram - @marcellemancuso
and subscribe to her YouTube Channel by visiting the link here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdp6r-adZ12WZ7E2KuPPgDw
From myself, I would like to thank Marcelle for taking the time to be interviewed by me and for sharing her wonderful words of wisdom, positivity and for opening up on her story. I will always be grateful and I wish you all the very best for the future. With such determination as you have, I am sure you will succeed.
If you would like to have your experience shared as Marcelle has please contact me using the subject 'share my story'.
Thank you for reading.