At 18 years old, Denis’ life changed forever after a horrific car accident severed his spinal cord. Denis had become paralyzed from the waist down. It was a time in his life when he should have been celebrating his high school graduation with family and friends. Instead, Denis found himself confined to a bed, unable to walk, and overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness about his future and the possibility of recovery. It was in this time of despair that Denis came to St. Mary’s Hospital for Children for intensive spinal cord injury rehabilitation in our Locomotor Training (LT) Program.
Denis enrolled in the Locomotor Training Program in early fall of 2018 and immediately began to see remarkable gains in both his legs. When he first came to St. Mary’s he was unable to stand up straight and was certain that he never again be able to do so. Amazingly, just a few months after beginning therapy, not only was Denis able to stand up straight, but he had already begun taking steps on the treadmill.
“It just feels really great just to see me move my legs even if it’s just a small tiny movement. It’s really surreal to me.” – Denis
During his therapy sessions, Denis often experiences a wide variety of emotions – because with each session, he knows he is one step closer to recovery. He works through disappointments and setbacks and celebrates his triumphs. With each achievement, he sets new goals for himself and his therapists to push himself further.
“Denis is truly inspirational for all of us. I had been working with him and his family prior to his arrival. We were eager to see what his progress could be. I was lucky enough to be present in the room during the first few sessions to which he had said, ‘I didn’t know I could do that’ or, ‘I don’t need a break. I want to do more.The progress he has made is astounding.” – Tiffany Damers, Director of Rehabilitation Services at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children