Stem cell op helps woman to stand again
A WOMAN confined to a wheelchair for the past five years has told of the miracle moment she stood up after revolutionary stem-cell treatment.
Julia Sandeman, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, paid £13,500 for the make-or-break operation in a Dutch clinic.
After the procedure she regained sensation in her limbs and is now able to balance upright in a therapy pool, sparking fresh hope she will one day walk again.
Julia, who lives in a carer-assisted home in Stanley Street, Caterham, said: "I had tears in my eyes the moment when I was holding up my own body weight for the first time in years.
"Not only do I have some sensation I now believe I might regain full use of my legs."
The 33-year-old, who was a talented dancer before being diagnosed with MS eight years ago, said she dreams of walking hand in hand alongside her five-year-old daughter Jenna.
She said: "It felt like climbing Mount Everest when I stood up. My dream is to one day walk along a beach with Jenna.
"I just hope the stem cells keep on doing their work."
Julia suffered blurred vision and a loss of sensation in her limbs as the disease began to take hold of her body and she was forced to use a wheelchair.
In desperation she resorted to having cells from the umbilical cords of new-born babies injected into acupuncture points in her body.
The radical treatment, which took place in February at a Rotterdam clinic, is untried in this country but has seen Julia achieve incredible results.
So far she has completed simple but farreaching goals such as lifting her foot several times in succession and steadying her trembling hands enough to send a text message.
This week her father Peter, 68, told the Mirror he is so happy with her progress he is prepared to sell beloved photographs of him with his late friend John Lennon to help fund it further.
He said: "Julia has made a heck of a lot of progress. "We're so pleased with her and hope that one day she'll walk again.
"I'm very encouraged. Just her regaining bladder control was worth the price of the treatment alone. This operation has given us hope where we had none before."
Source: ICSurreyonline Copywrite owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2006