Andrew B., SCI Patient Featured on BBC Look North

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? Absolutely. You’ve been to Thailand twice now. Yeah! 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 Yeah! absolutely. Well you got an amazing outlook yeah! 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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