Teen Hopes to Walk after Adult Stem Cell Treatment Restores Sensation in Legs
By Vickie Welborn, Shreveport Times, April 20, 2007
17-year-old Kayla is making graduation plans, completing her final senior project; her remaining days as a high school senior at Stanley High were jammed full of activity.
On May 15th, diplomas will be handed out to all the graduates as they walk across the stage in front of their friends and family .
However, Kayla may not be able to do it exactly like that. She is paralyzed.
"If I don't, that'll be OK, but if I do, that will be great," Kayla said.
But even though she is paralyzed, walking is not completely out of the question. Kayla received a series of adult stem cell treatments in China last year. She was left paralyzed at mid-chest after the car she was riding in flipped out of control. She is hoping her trip to China will restore her ability to walk, maybe even before her graduation date.
Her treatment in China was administered over time, with an injection given every five to seven days. The received four injections and one IV of non-embryonic and non-controversial umbilical cord stem cells. Her treatment was combined with acupuncture session six days each week. She also worked through intensive physical therapy sessions twice-a-day.
The supplementary therapy is a positive addition since it allows Kayla to be in control of her balance and be more mobile.
In the beginning , Karen who is Kayla’s mother, had to hold her upright on the exercise mat. But following the fourth series of treatments, things began to change.
"All of a sudden one morning, she didn't have to help me at all. I was doing it myself," Kayla said.
After the acupuncture treatments, Kayla would feel heightened sensation in her legs. And she has continually experienced intermittent tingling in her legs since the accident.
Of course, as a mother, Karen hoped to see her daughter walk off the plane when they returned stateside April 11. "But we went and did it, and we'll do whatever it takes to get her walking."
Leading up to her trip to China, Kayla admitted that she started to become less interested in her physical therapy sessions and began to miss many of them.
But she will start a new treatment schedule on Thursday following an evaluation in Willis-Knighton North.
Kayla is focused on walking again, and her upbeat attitude and faith keeps her feeling strong. She was aided by funds donated by individuals and businesses from her surrounding community. Her own strength and the support she feels from the community around her has given her tremendous hope.
"I want to thank everyone, the businesses, the churches, for their prayers and support. ... I want to make sure everyone knows that I appreciate it and that I've very, very grateful."