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FAMILY TIME: Chris Walmsley at home with his parents Wilf and Carol. PHOTO: Mike Proudfoot MP120527
By Jackie Turley
STEM cell therapy rocks!
That’s according to Chris Walmsley and his family who have seen amazing changes since Chris received the pioneering treatment in August 2011.
Chris, aged 33, was left quadriplegic after being hit by a car on Richmond Hill in 2006.
Thanks to the island’s support, some £27,000 was raised in three months so that Chris could undergo the treatment at a clinic in Germany.
His mum Carol said: ‘The changes we have seen in Chris are really amazing.
‘We knew it wasn’t a miracle cure but his reactions are quicker, his comprehension levels are really good and the right arm is really starting to function well.
‘As far as the family are concerned, stem cells rock!’
Carol has posted a video on YouTube which she says shows just how much progress Chris has made.
He is now able to touch his nose with his right hand.
‘I keep watching it over and over I am so thrilled with it,’ she said.
Carol said: ‘We haven’t had Chris assessed neurologically since the stem cell therapy but his neurologist is being kept informed of any progress we see and the video is on its way to him.
‘But before the therapy Chris could give you thumbs up and would look up and down, left and right but he held his right arm tight against his chest most of the time.
‘Now his arm relaxes a lot of the time, not all the time.
‘We do still have times when you need to use a crowbar to move it – not literally.’
She added: ‘Before the therapy there was no way he could have touched his nose. Yesterday he was touching his lips and his forehead too.’
Chris lives during the week at Abbotswood Nursing Home in Ballasalla.
But Carol said that after looking after Chris for a week in a caravan the family realised they could look after him at home, in Maine Road, Port Erin.
She said: ‘We realised we could look after him at home, not permanently because the house isn’t really wheelchair-friendly but we can get him into our lounge and study.
‘We bought him a bed – a fully profiling hospital bed with a pressure mattress.
‘And Chris now stays at home every Friday and Saturday night and we all absolutely love it.’
Chris now has physiotherapy weekly and carers are employed specifically to work with Chris, so he is starting to enjoy a social life.
Carol said his carers take him bowling to Sure Strike in Ramsey which he loves, the cinema and the Wildlife Park and he also went to see the Chinese Circus.
Last week saw Small Bear Records release Keep It Covered.
It is a digital album featuring 24 tracks of local artists covering songs by other local artists.
Proceeds from the album, costing £5, will go towards Chris’s ongoing care.
Download the album at www.smallbearrecords.com.
Meanwhile, Carol is raising money for Chris at a car boot sale at the Vintage Rally in Port St Mary on Sunday.
She said she would welcome any donations of items to sell – or anyone wanting to have a stall.
Contact Carol on 498403 or email carol.walmsley(at)yahoo.co.uk.
Money raised will help fund these sorts of activities, as well as equipment he needs. Chris’s physiotherapist has recommended that he has a £7,000 standing frame.
Carol said: ‘This will help get him up onto his feet, which is really important. It will help with kidney function and is important for the chest.’