He may have grown up a country boy, but Wes Bandemer is no longer living the simple country life. This is former motocross racer has transformed into a passionate advocate for embryonic stem cells, having traveled to India twice. And the moment he has regained is huge.
But it hasn’t been an easy road. Wes had to work hard to find funding and still relies on a wheelchair and PCAs everyday. His dream of becoming 100% independent may still yet have to come to fruition, but he has big hopes it may one day happen.
For more on a quadriplegic who refuses to put a timeline on his recovery, this is the effervescently optimistic Wes Bandemer.
Why he’s fearless
Growing up, Wes spent a lot of his childhood in Wyoming and it was here where he fell in love with motocross racing; a sport his entire family would eventually get into (including his mother). Unfortunately, after the family moved to Louisiana in his teens, he suffered a massive spinal cord injury while racing on June 10, 2006. He was 16 years old.
Wes wiped out hard while taking a turn with his body flipping over itself breaking his C4-6 vertebrae in the process and damaging his spinal cord underneath. The good news is that the spinal cord wasn’t severed, leaving the door open for alternative therapies, mainly stem cell procedures.
A former athlete and rising football star, Wes has been compelled from day one to get the body he loved back. His first “stem cell tourism” vacation was to Germany where he received adult stem cells. Unfortunately however, he didn’t see much return in the way of movement or sensation. This however did not deter him. Wes next decided to change his diet, becoming a vegan and gluten-free, and hugely improved his life – losing well, becoming less bloated and feeling amazing.
In 2011 however, the dream he had been waiting for finally arrived – Wes was able to go to India for an embryonic stem cell transplant. He received an injection in his shoulder and went to work in therapy. Six week later, he began to see a return of movement in his biceps. He also began to regain core movement.
This return was huge. As Wes says, “There’s no doubt in my mind that going to India resulted in the first improvements in five years.” After the initial visit to India, he returned the following March for another four weeks. Because of these embryonic stem cells, Wes can now shake hands, feed himself and even push his wheelchair. All critical things so many of us take for granted.
Since his trips to India, Wes, now 25, has been working out hard at-home, trying to get as much out of the moment he received as possible. Most recently, he moved to Orlando to begin working out at Project Walk, adding activity-based exercise to his next phase in life. He is planning on working out here for a year to see what more he can regain, sharing his progress with social media.
While it’s always good to move on after a spinal cord injury and focus on life ahead, it’s immensely good to have dreamers like Wes; people who refuse to accept what they’re told will be their fate, people who show the world that hope can result in a real thing.
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