Friends and family are rallying around a former professional mountain biker from Vancouver after a burst blood vessel left him suddenly paralyzed.
And his amazing story of survival is drawing plenty of attention.
It was last Friday when 29-year-old Andrew Cho went home from a dinner party feeling ill. Unbeknownst to him, he’d burst a blood vessel in his spine.
After texting with a nurse friend, he decided to get up to unlock the door in case he needed to call paramedics.
That’s when friend Danny Brody says things went wrong.
“As soon as he got up, I guess something shifted in his back, and the blood vessel that had ruptured completely enclosed the spine in his c3 and c4 vertebrae, which cut off all feeling basically below that level, so his arms, his legs, his diaphragm. … Not only was he home alone, but he couldn’t yell for help.”
Cho dropped to the floor, paralyzed, alone, and seemingly helpless.
That’s when Brody says he showed an unbelievable will to survive.
“He told me he said a little prayer because he was obviously pretty scared, you know you can’t feel your arms or legs or anything. He looked up and saw his phone about 10 inches away from his body, obviously you can’t grab it because he couldn’t move any of his limbs. So he dug his chin into the carpet.”
“He used his chin, that’s why he’s got a huge scab on it now, but he used his chin to drag himself 10 inches which took about 15 mintues to do, but he got there and stuck out his tongue to activate the phone, got Siri and five tries later he eventually told Siri to call 9-1-1.”
Brody says if he hadn’t been able to call for help, he could have been alone for days – and adds with recovery from spinal injuries, time is of the essence.
Road to recovery
That said, he says doctors say it’s too soon to say whether he’ll regain his mobility, though he’s showing some small, early improvements, including limited movement and sensation down to his biceps. Either way, he’s got a long road of recovery.
Friends have now started up a fundraising campaign to help with expenses, which has topped $60,000 dollars in under a day, drawing support from all over the world.
“It’s going incredibly well, it’s beyond any of our dreams what’s happened.”
“Although this is in Canada and there is free healthcare, there’s still quite a few added expenses with rehab, he might have to do some retrofitting to his home, fixing his car — things like this healthcare doesn’t really cover.”
As for what happened to Cho, Brody says doctors are still mystified. He says there’s nothing in his friend’s family history linked to it, and that Cho is active and healthy.
“It is just the weirdest thing. In fact when I was talking to the Surgeon about it, usually if this happens to any doctors or surgeons, they end up writing about it in a journal and documenting it, because it’s that rare.”