From Tragedy to Triumph!


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) — From a tragic accident on the sunny beaches of California to conquering Oregon’s mightiest peak. Hear about the incredible journey of one man who stunned doctors who told him he’d never walk again. Tragedy

To see 24-year-old Vishal Shukla today, you’d never know that just a year ago, a body surfing accident left him unable to even lift a finger.

Shukla says, “I instantly shattered my C5 vertebrae. Just like a light switch, I broke my neck and I got paralyzed from the neck down, and right off the bat, I knew I was paralyzed.”

Doctors initially told Shukla he’d never walk again – a devastating prognosis for a young man who had spent his life surfing, hiking, and mountain climbing.

“I was literally just seeing my own body deteriorate just laying down for two weeks at a time. My fingernails stopped growing. My muscles were atrophying.” Explains Shukla.

But then he found strength and inspiration.

“I was sitting in my wheelchair at the time looking out the window at Mt. Olympus and I looked down at my phone at Mt. Hood, and it just basically clicked. Right? Like it would be awesome if, at some point in my life, I could recover to the point where i could climb Mt. Hood.”

As most goals go, it began with baby steps – first the twitch of a finger, then standing up and shuffling forward. Ten steps led to 60 steps which led to 200 steps. And just one month after his accident, Shukla walked one mile.

“If Vishal had just sat around and not put in the effort early on, it’s very unlikely he’d be able to move the way he’s moving now.” explains Peter Spence, Physical Therapist at Intermountain Health.

Just 14 months after being told he may never walk again, Shukla stood at the top of Oregon’s Mount Hood.

Shukla says, “I did want to give up at least a dozen times, but I knew for a fact, a month from now, when I’m comfortable at home in my own house, knowing I did not climb the summit of that mountain when it was only a mile away, I’d just be full of regret.”

Scaling Mount Hood wasn’t just a personal goal for Shukla, it was also a philanthropic one. He was able to raise more than 16 hundred dollars for Neuroworx, a non-profit rehab facility in Utah.

Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor. Kirk Manson, Videographer.


REPORT #3159

BACKGROUND: Paralysis occurs when the nerve signals to the muscles are disrupted, resulting in the inability to make voluntary movements. Common causes of paralysis include strokes, spinal cord injuries, and nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis. Approximately one in 50 Americans have some type of paralysis. Some people have temporary paralysis and regain partial or full movement over time. Bell’s palsy causes temporary facial paralysis, whereas paraplegia involves both legs, and quadriplegia affects all limbs. Permanent paralysis means you never regain muscle control. Localized paralysis affects a small section of the body and most commonly affects the face, hands, feet, or vocal cords. Generalized paralysis affects a larger area. Paralysis can be broken down into two types based on the location of injury in the nervous system. One is called flaccid where your muscles get flabby and shrink. The other is called spastic, where the muscles tighten, causing jerks and spasms.


SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES:  Some people are born with birth defects like spina bifida that cause paralysis, but more often it is caused by a traumatic injury or medical condition that has damaged muscle and nerve function. Top causes of paralysis include strokes and spinal cord injuries, but can also be caused by autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré syndrome; brain injuries, including conditions like cerebral palsy; and neurological diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Paralysis may be accompanied by a loss of sensation depending on the location of the injury. Strokes and spinal cord injuries cause sudden paralysis. Some medical conditions can cause gradual paralysis where you may experience a steady loss of feeling and muscle control, muscle cramps, or tingling or numbness in limbs.


NEW STUDY RESTORES WALKING AFTER PARALYSIS: A team of researchers from UCLA, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Harvard University have discovered a critical component for restoring functional activity after spinal cord injury. Research has shown that re-growing specific neurons back to their natural target regions led to recovery, while random regrowth was not effective. The team aimed to determine whether directing the regeneration of axons from specific neuronal subpopulations to their natural target regions could lead to meaningful functional restoration after spinal cord injury in mice. They then found that merely regenerating axons from these nerve cells across the spinal cord lesion without specific guidance had no impact on functional recovery. “Our study provides crucial insights into the intricacies of axon regeneration and requirements for functional recovery after spinal cord injuries,” said Michael Sofroniew, MD, PhD, professor of neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “It highlights the necessity of not only regenerating axons across lesions but also of actively guiding them to reach their natural target regions to achieve meaningful neurological restoration.”


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