Paralyzed teen sets sights on 2nd stem cell surgery
By Vickie Welborn • vwelborn@gannett.com • July 15, 2008




STANLEY — A trip to China 15 months ago for stem cell treatment in hopes of reversing paralysis from a May 2006 car crash didn't put Kayla Spano at her goal of walking again.

But it helped her regain some feeling and control of her lower abdomen, which along with intense physical therapy aided in strengthening her upper body — so much so that the 18-year-old no longer depends on her mother, Karen Burr, or others to get in and out of her wheelchair and wherever else she needs to go.

Instead, Kayla was able in January to enroll in LSU-Shreveport to work toward a major in accounting, live in a campus apartment and get a vehicle with controls so she can drive where she wants to go.

But Kayla is not content to just sit. She is determined to give stem cell surgery another try. She still wants the chance to try to walk again.

To reach that goal, Kayla is planning a trip this year to San Jose, Costa Rica, where she'll again undergo a series of stem cell implants. This time, however, there will be more treatments over a shorter period of time.

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