Today the Charlotte Lozier Institute releases its eighth Stem Cell Research Facts video, which tells the story of Sonia Coontz’s “miracle” stroke recovery thanks to an adult stem cell transplant at Stanford University.
Sonia, a 31-year-old Californian, suffered a stroke in 2011. Without any warning, she found herself unable to move her right arm and leg, unable to communicate or to walk. She joined the roughly 7 million Americans suffering the devastating effects of this “attack on the brain.”
This dramatic life change brought Sonia into a deep depression, as she felt trapped in her body, alone, and scared. She was confined to a wheelchair and no longer wanted to get married because she was too embarrassed to walk down the aisle. With all of her suffering, Sonia wanted to end her life.
Thankfully, Sonia’s resilience shone through, and she contacted Stanford University School of Medicine, where researchers were using adult stem cells to treat stroke victims like herself. She was accepted as a patient in a clinical study led by Dr. Gary Steinberg, Chair of Neurosurgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Founder and Co-Director of the Stanford Stroke Center.
In 2013, two years after her stroke, Dr. Steinberg injected donor adult stem cells into Sonia’s brain, near the area of the stroke. The initial goal of the study was to test the safety of the transplant, but just hours after the procedure Sonia experienced marked improvements. “All of a sudden my body just woke up,” Sonia remembers.
The immediate effects of the transplant were striking. No longer needing her wheelchair, Sonia was walking, raising her right arm, and communicating with a clearer and stronger voice. Her movements were even described by Dr. Steinberg as a “miracle.” Remembering the day, Sonia recalls thinking to herself, “Okay … I know it’s going to be a long recovery, but I can do this,” … and she did.
After her transplant and recovery, Sonia married her now-husband Peter, who had accompanied her during the entire journey, and she gave birth to their son Lucien in 2016. “My husband, a baby boy, and life as a wife and mother—none of that would have been possible without my adult stem cell transplant. Some days I wake up and can hardly believe it myself.”
In Dr. Steinberg’s words, “Patients like Sonia give us great hope that we’ll be able to resurrect function, repair tissue in chronic stroke patients like her.”
Watch the story of Sonia’s “miracle” stroke treatment:
Many others like Sonia are currently being treated using ethically-derived, non-controversial adult stem cell transplants, which do not rely on the destruction of young human life. Adult stem cells are the gold standard of stem cells when it comes to patients. Well over one million patients worldwide have been treated using adult stem cell transplants. In 2014 alone, nearly 20,000 bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants were performed in the United States, according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration’s Blood Cell Transplant Report.
Stem Cell Research Facts is a project of the Charlotte Lozier Institute since January 2015. CLI plans to continue producing inspiring videos like Sonia’s to raise awareness about the life-saving, science-based, and ethical treatment option of adult stem cell transplants. Don’t miss the opportunity to view the entire series – and tell your friends, some of whom may someday benefit from these astonishing therapies.
To view other patient videos, please see: http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org/.
To learn more about the usage of adult stem cell transplants, please see: http://lozierinstitute.org/fact-sheet-adult-stem-cell-research-transplants.