Joseph was found clumsy when he was seven years old, however, there was no effective treatment at home, he was accompanied by his family traveled to China and had stem cell treatment for Friedreich’s ataxia.
When Joey turned 7 years old, his mother started noticing that he had become very clumsy. He began falling down and his gait was affected. Joey’s family physician sent him to a neurologist, and he was diagnosed as suffering from Friedreich’s Ataxia, a disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system.
Throughout the years, the disease progressed slowly but took a faster pace when Joey turned 15. As a teenager, Joey used to play sports and be very active, but with the progression of his disease, he became wheelchair-bound and at the age of 18, he had to let go of his sports activities.
Joey was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia in 1991 and traveled to China in February 2009 to seek for stem cell treatment.
Condition before stem cell treatment
Because of ataxia, Joey could not walk or stand by himself anymore. Joey came to the hospital with severe scoliosis (his spine is curved from side to side, like the letter “s”).
The disease has affected Joey’s speech, which has become slurred. His eyesight has deteriorated, and he now wears glasses and has difficulty with eye tracking. Although Joey could still feed and dress himself, his fine motor skills slowed to a point until he wasn’t able to write and draw. He has lost the ability to move his feet, and he is using a manual wheelchair in order to exercise his upper body.
His back, stomach and leg muscles have deteriorated up to a point where Joey had to support himself with his arms in order to sit up.
Joey felt he didn’t have a life anymore. He tried to stay positive, but would sometimes fall into depression since he could see his disease progress quite significantly over a short period of time.
Condition after stem cell treatment
Joey’s trunk muscle strength has improved. His speech is now better, clearer and faster than before the treatment. Joey has noticed a little bit of improvement in his eyesight – he now uses his eyeglasses when he’s using his computer. Joey now can lift his legs more easily, and he has gained some of the feeling in his limbs back.
The arches in Joey’s feet have gone down, which now enables him to stand up to 30 minutes, something he wasn’t able to do for the last 6 years.
Joey’s sensation of pain and temperature has improved. His back and stomach muscle tone has increased. His coordination has improved as well.
One of the things Joey is looking forward to is going back home, and raising money for another Cell Therapy implantation.
On his way back home Joey says:” I’m coming back!” and he says it with a huge smile on his face.