Kelly Thomas

Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES -

23, Florida

As a teenager Kelly loved the out­doors and could of­ten be found rid­ing horses, play­ing soc­cer or work­ing on the fam­ily farm. But in July 2014 a car ac­ci­dent left her paral­ysed from the waist down and con­fined to a wheel­chair, with doc­tors say­ing she would never be able to walk again. Now, fol­low­ing months of epidu­ral stim­u­la­tion treat­ment and stren­u­ous re­hab, she has proved the doc­tors wrong by be­com­ing one of the first para­plegics in the world to take steps un­der her own power.

“Be­ing a par­tic­i­pant in this study truly changed my life, as it has pro­vided me with a hope that I didn’t think was pos­si­ble af­ter my car ac­ci­dent. The first day I took steps on my own was an emo­tional mile­stone in my re­cov­ery that I’ll never for­get, as one minute I was walk­ing with the trainer’s as­sis­tance and, while they stopped, I con­tin­ued walk­ing on my own. It’s amaz­ing what the hu­man body can ac­com­plish with help from re­search and tech­nol­ogy,” she said. “They were help­ing me as usual and then they stopped and I took maybe three or four steps in se­quence. I just stopped and my lips started quiv­er­ing, my face got hot and my eyes got teary, and I was like, ‘Oh my God! I just took steps’.”

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