Waltham resident paralyzed in crash: ‘I’m going to walk’
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By Ignacio Laguarda
Wicked Local Waltham
Posted Feb 17, 2012 @ 10:00 AM



WALTHAM —
Doctors told Sindy Cruz more than two years ago that she would never walk again.

Clearly, she wasn’t listening.

The 20-year-old Waltham resident has never accepted that fate, despite a November 2009 car crash that left her with no feeling in the lower half of her body.

Her boyfriend, Rene Selenas-Lara, drove headfirst into a tree on Nonantum Road in Newton, and the passenger side – where Cruz was sitting – took the brunt of the damage.

She was going to her parents’ home in Waltham to babysit her sister that day.

The accident injured her spinal cord. Now, some 15 months since the accident, Cruz still can’t walk, but she said she’s improving.

She can kick her legs when she’s sitting down and she doesn’t need as much help from others to stand up.

“I still need more help for me to do it alone,” said the Guatemala native. “That’s what I’m working on, to get more strength on my knees to be able to stand up on my own and maybe I wont need the wheelchair anymore. That’s my goal, getting out of the wheelchair.”

On Sunday, Feb. 19, Cruz will be at Government Center in Waltham at 119 School St. at 2:30 p.m. for a fundraiser to help pay for her therapy so she can one day walk again.

The event is a 90-minute Zumba class. Attendees are asked to donate at least $15.

Cruz, who graduated from Waltham High School in 2009, was an avid dancer before the crash. She would regularly attend Zumba classes or go out to dance clubs in Boston or Cambridge.

It was her Zumba instructor, Jennifer Williams, who came up with the idea for Sunday’s event, along with Mirna Vidal, a friend of Cruz’ family.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Cruz was at Journey Forward, a non-profit organization in Canton founded by Hyde Park native Dan Cummings, who was also told he would never walk again after a car crash in 2000. Ten years later, Cummings walked a full mile.

Journey Forward provides intense exercise programs to those who have suffered spinal cord injuries. The cost of therapy sessions at the center is $100 per hour.

After a two-hour workout on Wednesday, Cruz was at her parents’ Felton Street home, exhausted.

She talked about the day of the crash, remembering the moment Selenas-Lara’s 1994 Honda Accord slammed into a tree next to the Charles River. A 26-year-old Waltham woman died in the same area a year prior when her car went into the water.

Doctors told Sindy Cruz more than two years ago that she would never walk again.

Clearly, she wasn’t listening.

The 20-year-old Waltham resident has never accepted that fate, despite a November 2009 car crash that left her with no feeling in the lower half of her body.

Her boyfriend, Rene Selenas-Lara, drove headfirst into a tree on Nonantum Road in Newton, and the passenger side – where Cruz was sitting – took the brunt of the damage.

She was going to her parents’ home in Waltham to babysit her sister that day.

The accident injured her spinal cord. Now, some 15 months since the accident, Cruz still can’t walk, but she said she’s improving.

She can kick her legs when she’s sitting down and she doesn’t need as much help from others to stand up.

“I still need more help for me to do it alone,” said the Guatemala native. “That’s what I’m working on, to get more strength on my knees to be able to stand up on my own and maybe I wont need the wheelchair anymore. That’s my goal, getting out of the wheelchair.”

On Sunday, Feb. 19, Cruz will be at Government Center in Waltham at 119 School St. at 2:30 p.m. for a fundraiser to help pay for her therapy so she can one day walk again.

The event is a 90-minute Zumba class. Attendees are asked to donate at least $15.

Cruz, who graduated from Waltham High School in 2009, was an avid dancer before the crash. She would regularly attend Zumba classes or go out to dance clubs in Boston or Cambridge.

It was her Zumba instructor, Jennifer Williams, who came up with the idea for Sunday’s event, along with Mirna Vidal, a friend of Cruz’ family.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Cruz was at Journey Forward, a non-profit organization in Canton founded by Hyde Park native Dan Cummings, who was also told he would never walk again after a car crash in 2000. Ten years later, Cummings walked a full mile.

Journey Forward provides intense exercise programs to those who have suffered spinal cord injuries. The cost of therapy sessions at the center is $100 per hour.

After a two-hour workout on Wednesday, Cruz was at her parents’ Felton Street home, exhausted.

She talked about the day of the crash, remembering the moment Selenas-Lara’s 1994 Honda Accord slammed into a tree next to the Charles River. A 26-year-old Waltham woman died in the same area a year prior when her car went into the water.

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