Kayla Spano was paralyzed midchest down after being thrown from the window of an out-of-control vehicle in which she was a passenger at a very young age. She suffered fractures in four vertebrae in her back, one of which was a burst fracture that caused the spinal cord injury and paralysis. She received a stem cell treatment in China. The treatment helped the 18 year old girl to regain some feeling and control of her lower abdomen, which along with intense physical therapy aided in strengthening her upper body. Now she no more depends on her mother or any wheelchair. Kayla was able in January to enroll in LSU-Shreveport to work toward a major in accounting, live in a campus apartment and get a vehicle with controls so she can drive where she wants to go.
But Kayla is not content to just sit. She is determined to give stem cell surgery another try. She still wants to try to walk again. To meet her goal, she is all set to go to San Jose, Costa Rica, this year to undergo a series of stem cell implants. This time, however, there will be more treatments over a shorter period of time.
During her first treatment in China, she received four round of injection above and below her injury site, the premise being that the cells would migrate and regenerate the damaged nerves. One treatment of stem cells by IV, intense physical therapy and acupuncture followed during a four-week period. Kayla noticed her improved mobility after the fourth treatment.
However, this time the treatment will include five injections and five IVs of stem cells. And her stay will be two weeks. She’s going to Costa Rica realizing that walking may never be in her future.
Regardless, family, friends and strangers rallied around her last year to help her reach a $20,000 goal for the China trip. The price tag for Costa Rica is the same, and those same family, friends and strangers are already giving. Bake sales and donations have netted $1,700, so far. Family friend Kathi Wells stepped in a few weeks ago to organize a concert Saturday on Toledo Bend Reservoir, basing it on a successful fundraiser held in May to benefit the Cajun Crossroads Festival.
Kayla expressed her hope and says,
“Before China, I couldn’t sit up without holding onto something. Now, I can reach out and lift things over my head, like my wheelchair, and put it in the car. If I didn’t have the improvements, I couldn’t do that. And there are other things I can do by myself. I need to be independent before I can walk “» because if I walked first that would be like taking the easy way out. I went to China to get these improvements and get independent, and now I have this opportunity to do more.”