Frankie suffered a horrific ATV accident on February 13,2021 while he off roading at Glamis. He suffered a Cervical Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) at level C5. This means that it has caused damaged to the cervical spine/nerves that control his motor and sensory functions. Initially Frankie was only able to move his head. He was awake and knew that he was not able to move his body. He was then placed on a ventilator and was sedated for two weeks. Transitioned to a tracheostomy and was then off sedation. By then Frankie was fully awake and was able to move his arms with help. During the time he was in ICU he was able to gain full body sensation, but no pain below the chest area, no leg movement and no hand grip. This injury has also affected his bowel and bladder causing him to retain urine. During the last six months Frankie has gradually and slowly shown signs of improvement and gained strength. Frankie attends physical and occupational therapy four times a week. Frankie looks forward to therapy because he is determined to get stronger. He has shown improvements from holding a cup with his palms, feeding himself with adaptive devices, core strength which will be effective to learn how to transfer himself, able to lift his legs with muscle contractions, use of his phone and has been able to do school work with the use of his iPad. Frankie is sixteen, has a good prognosis, which is why it has been recommended to research Stem Cell Therapy.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem Cell therapy, which consist of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) is considered one of the new therapies to treat spinal cord injury patients. Stem Cells are crucial for the spinal cord function, once a spinal cord injury occurs. It is important because the damaged spinal cord has a very limited regenerative capacity and is also something that cannot be achieved by only doing physical and occupational therapy interventions alone. Stem Cell therapy will help decrease the inflammation to the injured site. These cells will help promote cell regeneration and differentiate into nerve cells to replace the damaged cells. These cells will protect the remaining healthy cells. MSC therapy for SCI remains bright as it has shown positive results in clinical trials. Physical and occupational therapy cannot stimulate spinal cord regeneration alone like stem cell therapy can. Stem cell therapy is NOT covered by insurance. It is still considered a trial treatment. Frankie will get a total of four infusions and a spinal tap directly into the spine every three months. During the treatment Frankie will receive an infusion of a blend of vitamins, receive physical therapy and occupational therapy. The cost for stem cell treatment starts at $50,000 dollars.
The reason we are so eager to get Frankie the Stem Cell therapy is because we have heard and spoken to patients with the same spinal cord injury with amazing results. Frankie is only sixteen years old and deserves to be treated and given the opportunity to be able to improve his quality of life. This injury is known to cause secondary issues like wounds, breathing problems, and urinary tract infections.
Frankie is so young and has his whole life ahead of him. Stem Cell Therapy can increase Frankie’s chances with regaining his motor skills, bowel and bladder function, hand strength, core strength, and can ultimately lead to him walking again.
Frankie told me a few days ago “Mom, I feel normal. My only wish is to gain hand strength to be able to hold my high school diploma when I graduate” OMG did I hold my tears as I have done multiple times. Little does he know that, that is the same goal I have for him. I want him to regain hand strength so that he can be more independent and not depend on me for the things we do without thinking. We feed ourselves, pick things up, scratch our head, pick our ears, hold things, play video games, dress yourself, open and close doors, drive, open things etc. Frankie CANNOT do these things. Frankie is in a power chair with the use of assistive devices to be able to maneuver the chair as he wants.
We ask that you please continue to keep Frankie in your prayers and in your thoughts. Please continue to share his story as we are not alone in this journey. Any and every donation is greatly appreciated as this injury is a very expensive injury and we couldn’t do it without you guys. Thank you.
- Judy & Valerie