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Paralyzed man moves legs one week into stem cell

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 20:55:54-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Tucson man who was paralyzed form the chest down in a motorcycle accident in 2015 has seen major improvements just one week into stem cell treatments.

Forrest Falk traveled all the way to New Delhi, India to receive the treatment that is banned in the United States. 9 On Your Side has been following him since before his trip. 

Unable to move anything below his breast line for nearly a year, Forrest got around in a wheelchair and with help from his fiancee Nicole. Desperate for Forrest to walk again, the couple took a chance with Dr. Geeta Shroff at Nutech Mediworld in India.

Forrest gets shots of stem cells every day and does physical therapy for hours six days a week.

"Morning and night they have me doing standing exercises, balance exercises, doing stretching to see if there's any new movement," said Forrest.

Just five days into his two-month-long treatment, Forrest was able to wiggle his toes. Soon after, he could move his legs.

"Seeing that movement that you've never seen happen before, you just get a big smile on your face. Happy to see that this may actually work out," said Forrest.

They have seen other patients at Nutech Mediworld who are further along in their treatment and it has given them hope that this is only the beginning of Forrest's progress. 

"There's patients here from all walks of life. We've already met a couple people. One from Chicago, one from a town in Idaho, people from the UK, a lady from Africa. So they're coming from all over to use this treatment for lime disease, spinal cord injury," said Nicole. "We're seeing a lot of people too with spinal cord injuries that are complete that are actually up and walking that are really doing very well."

Those patients have been through multiple rounds of stem cell treatments, which are 1-2 months long. Forrest may not fully be walking on his own by the end of the first treatment, but he has high hopes for his first trip.

"I'm expecting like you know return of bowel and bladder, some extra ab movement back, some leg movement," said Forrest. "You know, it would be life-changing."

The first round of treatment alone costs $45,000 plus travel expenses. Nicole and Forrest have set up a Gofundme page to help raise some of the money to continue Forrest's recovery.