Cape man reporting improved movement in legs

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mornings full of acupuncture, physical therapy and massage, leave Jim Trickey and his mother Karen Mogelnicki little time for the shops and sights of Beijing.

Trickey has been in China since early May for a surgery to implant cells into his frontal lobe. Doctors believe the surgery will help regenerate cells in his brain that have been damaged by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

"It looks like we will be leaving the hospital midweek after functional MRI and other tests," Trickey wrote in an e-mail to friends and family.

Before the surgery two weeks ago, his messages back home were typed by his wife, Brandy. Now he's gained some movement in his hands and arms, and stability in his legs.

Trickey will move to a hotel near the hospital -- "hopefully with a five-star bathroom," he says. He will soon leave the "foreign ward" where he's been housed since his arrival in China.

"I am still seeing improvement in my legs. My balance and stamina have also improved. There is still work to be done when I return home with physical therapy but we are all encouraged.

"We have seen so much improvement with the other patients here also. It is just amazing," he said.

People from all across the world have come to Beijing for this surgery, which implants nearly 4 million cells into the brain or spine. Most of the patients have spinal cord injuries, ALS or Parkinson's disease.

"We do feel this is a major breakthrough for several medical procedures as well as diseases. Please pass the word that there is hope."

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