Andrew B., SCI Patient Featured on BBC Look North

First tonight, the story of the man who’s
making medical history, Andrew Bell was
the first person from the UK to undergo
treatment that he hopes will help him walk again.
Andrew who is from County Durham
was left paralyzed after a
motorbike accident two years ago.
Doctors told him he would never walk again
but he is determined to prove them wrong and
has just returned from a second trip to
Thailand where doctors say he’s moving
towards the point where he will become
the first patient with complete spinal
injury to be able to walk.
Our health reporter Sharon Barber has this exclusive report.
Standing is a remarkable
achievement for Andrew Bell.
Bit indescribable to look at myself in the mirror,
pretty much standing straight on my own.
Andrew from County Durham was paralyzed
from the waist down after a motorbike
accident and he was told he would never
walk never be able to stand again.
But a former fighter, he wasn’t going to give up trying.
He went out to Bangkok where
doctors injected millions of embryonic
cord stem cells and an electrical
stimulator was fitted into his spine.
For the last three months he’s been back in
Thailand for intensive physiotherapy
and here he’s been learning to walk again.
And for his mother earlier this month
the birthday message delivered standing out.
Hi mom, I just wanted to say hope you have a fantastic birthday
really saddened that I can’t be there with you
but I’ll celebrate when I get home
love you lots, have a great day, lots of love.
Happy birthday!
Happy birthday!
After being told previously I didn’t want to go
and hospital bed, Andrew would never ever
he was completely paralyzed, be able to stand
or walk again and then to see on my
birthday and there’s Andrew in Thailand
standing, wishing me a happy birthday
yes I couldn’t wish for anything more.
When we last filmed Andrew he was
starting to move this feet but struggled to stand.
Now he can stand for an hour
His progress according to a stem-cell
professor in Newcastle is remarkable.
Phenomenal to say the least.
The fact that he can stand for an hour
with relatively little aid, relatively
little support after such an injury
is truly amazing, what we think is going on is
the injected stem cells are capable of
providing what we call growth factors and other
chemicals that induce the stem cells
which already exist in Andrew’s body
to redo the regeneration themselves.
The doctors in Thailand now believe he may
become the first patient with complete
spinal cord injury to be able to walk again.
Andrew hopes for even more than that.
I want to run again, I was a very keen
sportsman and extremely fit and I’ve done
the Great North Run so my ultimate goal
is to do the Great North Run again.
Sharon Barber BBC Look North.
Delighted to say Andrew joins us live here in the studio tonight.
Andrew, you were told you would
never walk again I mean obviously devastating news.
But you have pretty much refused to accept that.
And yeah definitely I think
I’m not the type of person who’s just gonna
lay down for start but as soon as I
was told my initial reaction was just
the sort of think what can I do to, to
first of all, I proved to myself but
just to show anyone who’s gonna tell me
that I’m never going to walk for the rest of my life
Well I’ll determine my own destiny and not you know,
not somebody else telling me that.
And do you hope by doing what you’re doing now that you’ll inspire others?
Absolutely, I know it’s a, it’s a huge passion of mine I know
what my family or friends and loved ones
went through at the time and it sort of
think well if my story can inspire
and give a bit hope and, and to let people
know that there are things happening out there
and you know you don’t have to
just necessarily believe in what you get told so definitely, yeah.
It’s well, it’s a global world obviously isn’t it?
You’ve been to Thailand twice now.
For treatment and where do you go from there?
Um, well this time round now got back
I’ve got good sort of treatment program
I’m going to be at home
but ultimately I’d like to continue
on and do some rehab with some help of a
physiotherapist in your home but if not
it may be a case where I would go out
there for a bit longer period and, and, and
do some, some you know really intense rehab
but ideally obviously if
I could do it at home that would be my, my number one priority.
I guess money is a barrier as well isn’t it?
absolutely yeah the, the treatment that I’ve, that I’ve done
out there is has come up quite a, quite a cost
but it’s a kind of drop in the ocean
considering I was told I’d never wiggle a toe
to be able to, to stand for an hour now so
Well you got an amazing outlook
I look forward to perhaps see you in the Great North Run, who knows.
Oh yeah that’s my goal for sure.
Yeah! Thanks Andrew.
Thank you.
Best of luck!

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