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Hope

Earlier this week Dr. Susan Harkema was featured on the Today Show to talk about the stunning research findings from her clinical study of epidural stimulation and spinal cord injury: http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/54895950.

One word describes this groundbreaking research: Hope. 
Hope for the nearly six million Americans living with paralysis. Hope for Jack. 

The study found that four young men who were classified with a chronic motor complete spinal cord injury (just like Jack) were able to move their legs in the presence of epidural electrical stimulation. The epidural stimulation process mimics signals the brain normally transmits to initiate movement and re-engages the spinal cord with its neural network to control and direct muscle movements. 

Simply put, the research paves the way for people living with paralysis to regain what was lost. Until now, therapy has focused on how to live with what was lost.

When coupled with rehabilitative therapy, the impact of epidural stimulation intensified. And, in addition to regaining voluntary movement in their hips, ankles and toes, the four research participants have shown a myriad of improvements in their overall health, including the increase of muscle mass, regulation of their blood pressure, reduced fatigue, and they were able to bear weight independently..stand! They also regained bowel, bladder and sexual function. 

How AMAZING is that? 

We've been following Dr. Harkema and her clinical study for quite some time. In fact, the Jack Jablonski BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation raised funds for Dr. Harkema and her research at our gala last summer. We even had the pleasure of meeting Rob Summers, the first participant to have had the epidural stimulator implanted by his spine, when he attended and spoke at our gala.

Then, last December, Dr. Anne Moore (a close friend and member of our Board) and I flew to Louisville to meet Dr. Harkema and Dustin Shillcox, one of the four participants in the study. We witnessed him move his legs on command and saw him stand. My eyes filled with tears as we watched this incredible moment. I shut my eyes and envisioned Jack doing the very same thing. Some day. We hope. We pray. 

The incredible news of this significant research spread like wildfire throughout the media. Here are two links to our local news stations that interviewed Jack and his reaction to the study:

KARE 11 (NBC): http://www.kare11.com/story/news/health/2014/04/08/four-paralyzed-men-moving-legs-spinal-cord-stimul...

KSTP (ABC): http://kstp.com/article/stories/S3392799.shtml

We're on a mission to bring a sense of urgency to moving the epidural stimulation clinical study forward. Why? Because it takes 100 participants to gain FDA approval. Our dream is to see Jack and others living with paralysis regain what they've lost and improve the quality of their lives.

Currently, Jack is not enrolled in the study, but we hope and pray that he will be some day. Shortly after he was injured, Jack said he'll prove the doctors wrong. He will and this research gives him the most hope in doing so.

We BEL13VE.
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Comments

44 Comments

Wanda Hopkins
By Wanda Hopkins
What amazing progress. Will keep you in our prayers and wishing you many blessings for you and your family.
Lisa Ellenbogen
By Lisa Ellenbogen
Jack and family,
Wishing you all a blessed Easter weekend, and a wonderful week ahead with Prom just around the corner. Enjoy the blessings of your family today,
Always bel13ving
#bel13ve
xoxo
Lisa
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1 person hearted this
Jane Berg
By Jane Berg
So amazing! We'll keep praying AND hoping!
Love,
Jane Berg
john & carol giovinco
By john & carol giovinco
Good Morning Jack, Max, Leslie, & Mike!!!:)
Jack, when I see the picture above I see a BEAUTIFUL miracle in progress, you are one of the most INSPIRATIONAL people I've ever known...KEEP UP the fight you will WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!:)
We also want to wish all of you a VERY HAPPY & BLESSED EASTER!!!! GOD BLESS all!
LOTS of LOVE & PRAYERS to all~
Carol & John G.
xoxoxoxoxoox's
AZ.
PS. Jack, I read about your prom coming up.....have a WONDERFUL time and ENJOY every moment with your date and friends!
J Shirley
By J Shirley
Magnificent! here's hoping, and praying, that jack is able to become one of the study participants!

California
barb doolin
By
I BEL13VE Jack will prove it all and be more than amazing, love you all and prayers always and forever. what wonderful hope they have i am so excited for all. love you
Beverly Olson
By Beverly Olson, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
What wonderful news!

Still praying...won't quit!!!
Jean Kern
By Jean & Ed Kern
Research and technology are a wonderful thing. Payers will continue for Jack ~ hope he can participate. Loved his prom story as well. You are am amazing family.
Donna Taylor
By
Hoping Jack will be asked to participate in this marvelous study ~
joanie conley
By joanie
Jack, I have followed your story ever since it was posted. You have my fore ever prayers and my strongest admiration of your un-shakable determined spirit, I know that you will walk again some day. Stay strong and stay the course.