After a brutal neck injury in 2017, Chris Barr was no longer able to move any part of his body. But all of that changed after an innovative medical trial. Now, he can walk again thanks to a groundbreaking stem cell procedure.
In 2017, Chris suffered neck and spinal cord injuries while surfing. He told Good Morning America, “It’s exactly like it is in the movies where, you know, it’s like a fish-eye lens opening up. And the doctor says — ‘You’re paralyzed from the neck down. And you had a really bad neck injury.'”
When he learned that he was completely paralyzed, Chris initially gave up hope.
He even asked his wife Debbie for permission to end his life. But, Debbie wouldn’t let Chris give up on life. She supported him through physical therapy and rehab, and he made small improvements with slight movements in his limbs. But, they didn’t still didn’t see any big changes in his health.
Then, the Barrs received a phone call from Dr. Mohamad Bydon.
Bydon, who is a spinal cord researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Chris about his plan to take stem cells from Chris’ own stomach fat and inject them into his spinal cord to repair the injury. Chris was on board.
Chris told GMA, “You gotta understand it’s—you know, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose. I mean, this is exactly why I stuck around was to do something. Listen—you know, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to participate in this. You know, whatever happened I was, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’”
After Chris underwent the stem cell procedure, he began to notice some big improvements.
First, Chris was able to bend down to tie his shoes. Then, before they knew it, he was walking.
“I don’t know if these are — are baby steps, or you know, Neil Armstrong steps,” he said. “But they’re absolutely steps in the right direction.”
Chris’ amazing recovery could be the first of many if this procedure continues to be used to help paralyzed people all around the world.