Three million stem cells deposited in her brain in China have given her life back, says a Big Island woman with debilitating Parkinson’s disease.
Before the surgery May 16 in the Tiantan Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital in Beijing, said Penny Thomas, “I was watching myself die.”
The 53-year-old from Captain Cook is the only known American successfully treated with stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease, according to the Tiantan Puhua hospital.
Scientists from the Stem Cell Research Center at Beijing University delivered stem cells to the hospital for her surgery from a donor’s retina, she said. The cost for surgery and a two-month stay in China: $26,000.
“I’m doing wonderfully,” she said in a telephone interview from her home.
She’s swimming, riding horseback, running, jogging and driving. “My life has totally changed back into being normal,” she said.
Dr. Cliff Arrington, her doctor in Kealakekua, said: “It’s just unbelievable what’s happened to her. … She had advanced Parkinson’s with severe tremors and was becoming progressively worse in spite of all the alternative treatments we were doing.”
When she mentioned stem cells, he said he encouraged her to look into it and she made arrangements to go to China.
“I heard she was over there. The next thing I knew, she was walking into my office almost like a completely normal person. I didn’t even recognize her at first,” Arrington said.
Gee, wanna bet she doesn’t like Limbaugh’s comments?