U.S. Citizens Denied at Home Leave Country for Stem Cell Treatment
By Lisa Rosetta, The Salt Lake Tribune, May 27, 2007
Two years ago, Tori suffered brain injury when she was caught up in a car accident. She was left powerless to talk or walk, and her family decided to do anything they could to help her be who she once was. The opted for a trip to China for adult stem cell therapy. It is now three months after her treatment, and 16-year-old Tori can take a cookie out of her father's hand. A task that would have only been a dream prior to the stem cell treatment.
Tori's family is not alone with their frustration and impatience towards U.S. scientists. The number of American's the feel the U.S. is too sluggish in determining whether stem cells are safe and effective is growing, and to get treatment, more are leaving the country as an alternative. Tori's family chose China because of the limited options in the United States.
Tori's treatment consisted of acupuncture, aggressive physical therapy, and 50 million adult stem cells which were spread over a course of five injection. The family paid $20,000 in advance for the therapy.
Tori's father Tim says that it could take up to eight months to see progress. Her last injection was on February 12th. But already her chewing, eating, and swallowing have substantially improved.
The family hopes for even more improvement in Tori, who can now vocalize more and can finish of an entire apple.
Tori was trapped underwater for about 20 minutes when a car she was a passenger in rolled over and ended up in a canal. It was June 2005, and 14 year old Tori had dreams of becoming a Stanford educated doctor. She enjoyed snowboarding and dancing.
Tori's story has helped other families to make the decision to travel overseas. The website PrayForTori.com prompted at least eight other families to make the decision. On Utah girl who suffered brain injury due to a car accident is currently at the same hospital in China with her family at this very moment.
Tori's family plans to do another round of stem cells therapy next year.
"It is the thing that will help (Tori) the most eventually, I'm convinced of that," said Tim, who urges increased funding for research.
"In the end, it's just going to help so many people. I don't see how we can not do it."