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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

'Never give up': Woman with locked-in syndrome learning to walk again

CTVNews.ca Staff , with reports from CTV Montreal’s Rob Lurie, CTV’s Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip
Nancy Bergeron
When Nancy Bergeron was just 37 years old, she suffered a devastating stroke.

Nancy was left with locked-in syndrome, a condition in which patients are aware of their surroundings but can’t speak or move.

Nancy’s mother, Michelle Bergeron, says she was told by doctors that she should let her daughter die.

“The doctor told me, ‘Your daughter will never be able to walk,” Michelle says. “I told him, ‘You don't know my daughter.’”

Michelle didn’t give up, and neither did her daughter.

Two years ago, Bergeron began intensive rehabilitation using a combination of technology and stimulation at Neuro-Concept in Verdun, Que.

Research shows intensive rehab can help people with locked-in syndrome to regain some function. Bergeron is an example.

“I want to walk,” says the 47-year-old stroke victim.

Bergeron’s therapist, Antoine Deschamps-Laporte, is impressed with her progress.

“She can stand up for many minutes,” he said. “With the help from some competent physiotherapists, she can walk now,” he added.

That’s opening up new possibilities, including going to restaurants and on vacations, according to Deschamps-Laporte.

Bergeron’s experience is inspiring others at the clinic.

Rana Yousseff was told she would never stand after a car crash that left her with a spinal cord injury. Now, she’s back on her feet.

“I decided that, with the help of my family, my husband and my daughters, they will see me walk again,” she said.

Despite her challenges, Bergeron is writing a book about her recovery. She plans to one day walk into a bookstore to buy the first copy.

“Never give up,” she says.


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