Quadriplegic Perry Cross on why he travels to India as a ‘stem cell tourist’
PERRY Cross was just 19 when he suffered a devastating neck injury that should have killed him.
Doctors told his family he had months to live, and if he survived beyond that the best he could hope for as a quadriplegic was just 10 years.
Now almost 20 years later, Mr Cross is still cheating death after a rugby accident that left him unable to walk, talk, eat, move his head or even breathe without the help of a respirator.
“When I got injured, I lay there on the ground, I looked up at the sky, and I knew straight away what had happened,” he writes on his website.
“You don’t have to be a neurologist to understand that when you break your neck you’ve done something pretty bad.”
That was just the start of a long and gruelling path to recovery, which saw him spend eight months in hospital learning how to use his very limited movements.
Now, every day he lives is a bonus but is full of daily struggles that most of us take for granted, including getting out of bed, brushing his teeth, eating and going to the toilet.
In fact, everything he does is thanks to a dedicated team of carers and family.
But the 39-year-old admits he is laying his life on the line and cheating death by travelling to India to have stem cell treatment, which he told news.com.au was his only hope to stay alive.
Unavailable in Australia, Mr Cross and his carers are forced to fly to India for the controversial stem cell treatment, which has resulted in him being able to breathe unaided, although he still needs a respirator when he gets tired.
He has even regained some sensation in his right shoulder.
The Gold Coast man said he was inspired to walk again after meeting superman figure Christopher Reeve in 1997, who told him there would one day be a cure for paralysis.
Many anecdotes like this but still need more properly conducted trials.