Three months after a debilitating spinal cord injury, 61-year-old Ohio native Diana Heldt was able to walk 300 feet with the aid of a walker. Immediately after her injury, doctors told Heldt that she’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She damaged four of her cervical vertebrae in a freak accident when her flip-flops got stuck in a hotel-room doorway, an article in the Record Courier reported.
Heldt has enjoyed a tremendous amount of support from her therapists and friends, many of who told the Record that the recovering spine injury victim has inspired them and lifted their spirits. Heldt decided immediately after her injury that she would not give up until she could walk again on her own. She said, ‘I have cried and said, you know, ‘˜why me?’ But I cannot lay here,’ she said. ‘You have to move and you have to fight’¦I am a fighter,’ the article reported.
In late September of last year, Heldt was on vacation on the coast of North Carolina. She used flipflops to keep her sandals out of the ocean and the sand. After an early morning hunt for seashells on the beach, Heldt caught her flip-flop in a doorway and fell to the ground, injuring her C4-C7 vertebrae in her neck. Luckily, the force from her fall did not completely sever her spinal cord, which may explain how she was able to walk so soon after such a tragic accident.
Prompted by her surgeon to attempt to eat on her own with a bag of chocolates as a bribe, Heldt moved her arms just days after her accident. The Record reported, ‘Diana’s road to recovery began in that ICU bed, where her doctors first told her she would never walk again. They were shocked when she first wiggled her thumb, and then her toe, within days after the surgery.’ In mid-October, Heldt was moved from Virginia to Cleveland, Ohio, where she was able to receive visits from her family and friends.
Near the end of 2009, Heldt moved into the Altercare Rehabilitation Center in Brimfield, Ohio, where she continues to recover more and more of her movement abilities and motor skills. It was at Altercare that Heldt was able to move across the floor with the aid of a walker. Her doctors tell her to expect some recovery, and her family and friends expect her to walk out of the facility fully recovered.
Fredmonsky, Matt. (January 17, 2010) ‘Learning to walk again: Kent resident fights back from paralysis.’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the RecordPub website:http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/4749773