“Sarai walking with assistance after stem cell therapy in panama. She could not even stand before.” – Elizabeth, Sarai’s mother
Sarai Nathan suffers from mild spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She came to the Stem Cell Institute at the beginning of August 2011 when she was about 16 months old. The following is a transcription of a phone call interview with Sarai’s mother, Elisabeth. It took place on January 18, 2012 about 5 1/2 months after her stem cell procedures.
How is Sarai doing since receiving stem cell therapy five months ago?
She’s walking with very, very little support. Ever since we got the stem cell transplant, there’s been tons of progress. The major thing that I relay to people is that the stem cell treatment kind of put the cells in place to rebuild everything.
We flew right from the stem cell treatment to a place called the Napa Center and did a three-week intensive [physical therapy] program four hours per day and she was a completely different person four weeks later.
This is the most amazing, miraculous thing I have ever seen. She’s a completely different kid. Where did you go? – pediatrician
Once the stem cells migrated and rebuilt, all-of-the-sudden she was able to able to do all these things crazy quickly. It was unbelievable. She went from not being able to sit to sitting, standing cruising furniture by herself; without any assistance at all and she couldn’t even lift up her trunk prior to coming to Panama. Out of 100% being fully recovered, I would say she has had an 85% recovery since before the stem cells.
I know that the stem cells kind of laid the groundwork for that progress to be made but I definitely believe that doing the intensive right after the stem cells sealed the deal. I don’t think it was just the stem cells. I think that doing one right after the other made the progress amazing.
Did you try any other kinds of treatments before stem cells?
We tried hyperbaric [oxygen treatments] which worked but I noticed that the results regressed a little bit after a few months. It would make her spasticity better and then little by little I’d notice it start to come back 3 -5 months later. The whole thing was very expensive and time consuming though.
How did you find out about the Stem Cell Institute?
I am really active on a lot of Yahoo groups and I read about the parents who had positive results with stem cells and many had good experiences with the Stem Cell Institute. So I called them and they were really on top of getting back to me and answering all of my questions.
And my dad, who has a background in law enforcement, had it checked out as well because he said that he wouldn’t pay some crooks to inject my kid at some random place in Panama. After everything checked out, he helped me pay for it. And I am so glad that we got to do it.
What is your opinion of the doctors and medical staff at the clinic?
We tell people all the time that it was the best medical care we’ve ever received since our daughter was born. The hospitals, doctors, they were all far superior in patient care. They were prompt, professional, loving and they still check in with us all the time.
And the IV, I’ve never seen someone nail an IV that quickly. Randy Bowen [MD], who did all of her IV injections was just so good. My daughter had a huge crush on him and on the second day, actually started handing him her arm. Instead of crying when she was about to get an injection, she would look a little scared and just hand him her arm like, “Alright, just get it over with.” She was only 16 months old so it wasn’t like she could talk or anything.
What do her doctors and therapists at home think?
Well, I didn’t tell her pediatrician that we were going because I knew that he would try to talk me out of it. So I made an appointment right when we got back from the stem cells and the intensive. [at the appointment] I had her sitting on the table by herself and he walked in and said, “Oh, my God! What did you do?” I told him that we actually took her to get a stem cell transplant and he said, “This is the most amazing, miraculous thing I have ever seen. She’s a completely different kid. Where did you go?”
He was asking me about all the information for the clinic; everyone’s name and number. He also said, “I would have tried to talk you out of it so I am so glad you didn’t tell me. What happened to your child is unbelievable and it makes me want to fight and advocate for stem cells.” He’s been specializing in neuro-developmental delays for a long time and said that he would everything he could for the rest of his life to advocate for this therapy.
Now the center that did her intensive [physical therapy]…the things they said were, “I’ve never seen a child progress so quickly.” They watched her spasticity go away and they also watched her strength increase and all her therapists just kept saying, “It’s not usual for a kid to progress this quickly. She is doing exceptionally well.” All of our therapists – when we got home to Hawaii – they said the same things, “This is like a completely different child. This is unbelievable.”
And they asked me, of course, where we went.