Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pioneering Stem Cell Treatment Helps Andy along Road to Recovery

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pioneering Stem Cell Treatment Helps Andy along Road to Recovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Hill Reporter Laura.Hill@trinitymirror.com

ABIKER who could have died after a serious motorcycle accident is fighting back - with the help of pioneering stem cell treatment.

Andy Bell was riding his bike in Chester-le-Street when he collided head-on with a car.

He was left paralysed after he broke his back and damaged his spinal cord and was told he would never walk again.

Just 15 months on from the horror smash, the determined 30-year-old is standing and walking with the help of a frame after pioneering stem cell surgery.

"I should have died in that crash, the police said they'd seen a lot of crashes not as bad as mine where the person didn't survive," he said.

Unwilling to accept his diagnosis that he would be paralysed and never walk again, Andy, who lives at Pity Me, in Durham, started to research surgery and specialist medical treatment, determined he would walk again.

He said: "I was told I was paralysed for life, my instant response was 'has anyone in my position ever walked again?'. I was told a very small percentage, but that was enough for me, I will be in that small percentage."

The keen sportsman played football and did martial arts training at least three times a week before the crash.

He said: "This is a challenge to me, this is just one more thing for me to tackle. I was fit and healthy, I had run half marathons.

"The NHS tell you not to do anything for two years but I just think that would be a waste, I would waste away, my muscles are still strong and my muscle memory is still there, the best time is now."

Before Christmas, Andy travelled to Thailand for stem cell treatment which he says has helped him to recover to the point where he can now stand and take steps on a frame.

Andy had 120million stem cells inserted into his spine along with a device which shoots electrical currents through his spine to strengthen the spinal cord. The pioneering surgery was carried out at Unique Access Medical in Thailand at a cost of PS47,000 and is not available in the UK. …

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