Edward's story

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Who is Edward?

An ambitious young soul that inspires life and kindness, Edward has always been a free and adventurous spirit. He loved spending time with his friends and going out on hiking trips. If he found a helpless animal, he would take it home. If he saw you sad, he would make you smile. When he faced troubles though, he would solve them by himself.

Edward wanted to be an artist, to paint, to compose music and to play on stage. A year ago all of this was possible, but now he can barely hold a brush in his hand. At the age of 28, Edward's dreams and ambitions were shattered in a split of a second.

What happened?

August 20, 2018 is the day when his life would hang by a thread. Edward was working at an adventure park as an instructor on the high-altitude trails. After rescuing a group of children, his safety equipment came loose and he fell from a height of almost 40 ft.

His colleagues found him still on the ground. Conscious but pale he repeated with a broken voice: "I cannot move, I can't feel my legs!". Edward had wounds to his head and face, and his hand under him was broken and bleeding. By utter luck, in the crowd that gathered around him there was a doctor who gave him first aid.

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Edward was urgently transported to Elias Hospital in Bucharest where he received a dreadful diagnosis: spastic quadriplegia. The first medical investigations revealed that the C1 and C5 vertebrae in the neck were severely fractured, his spinal cord being obstructed by more than 50% with bone fragments. He had fractures in the skull on the left side, in the jaw and a thoracic-abdominal trauma that prevented him from breathing normally. The bones in the right wrist were crushed, resulting in an open fracture and a rupture of the hand nerves. In the left arm he suffered a tendon injury that affected his elbow mobility. He had wounds and injuries to the femur and up to his pelvis.

Being in a critical condition, Edward was urgently transferred to the Bagdasar Hospital in Bucharest, where he underwent several surgeries and where he spent weeks in intensive care. The surgeons took pieces of bone from his hip and with metallic synthesis they restored his vertebrae. From the hand they removed a row of bones from the wrist, which left his right hand rigid.

Because he could not breathe normally and his lungs were constantly filling up with secretions, he underwent a tracheotomy - a procedure by which a tube is inserted through the neck for suction and ventilation. Now, not only could he not move and breathe properly, but he could barely even speak anymore.

As a result of the cervical trauma, Edward completely lost his mobility from the chest down, including the sense and control of the urine and stool. He would depend months, day and night, on the help of his family and friends to feed him, wash him, lift him up and to wipe away his tears when he broke down, filled with helplessness, despair and regret for everything that he had lost.

Edward has gone through a difficult ordeal where he suffered excruciating pains, endless muscle spasms, fever and recurring infections caused by wounds, pressure ulcers and by the urinary probe that he still uses since the accident. All the efforts of his doctors were focused on keeping him alive, his recovery was not even considered possible.

What followed?

Edward's chance came from the Polaris Recovery Hospital in Cluj, where a whole team of doctors, coaches and assistants received him with open arms since January 2019, and who help him to this day to overcome his limitations.

During his stay here, Edward followed a rigorous recovery program composed of individual kinetotherapy sessions, occupational therapy, next-generation robot therapy (Lokomat and Armeo), laser therapy, massage, medication and psychological counseling.

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Edward's condition has progressed from near complete paralysis to a slow but promising recovery. For months he was unable to use his arms. Now he has partially regained their mobility, but he still cannot move his fingers, wrists or feet.

What has changed?

One year after the accident, with small improvisations and an iron will, Edward paints again. Slowly, but surely he outlines shapes and emotions on canvas. His paintings have even been appreciated in exhibitions.

After hundreds of hours of training Edward developed enough strength in his core and arms to sit on his own in a wheelchair and push himself a few feet.

With utensils specially designed for quadriplegics, he can hold a spoon in his hand and eat on his own. These are all small steps in a good direction.

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What's next?

Edward still has a serious deficiency of locomotion and self-care. His physical condition is such that he still depends on the help of an adult. For a proper recovery and with the desired results, Edward needs both time and financial resources. The monthly costs for all these procedures reach the amount of 3100 EUR (or 3500 USD). Continuing his recovery treatment in a specialized center is the best chance that he's got.