Medical Watch: Transverse Myelitis

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A competitive break dancer fought back when her body broke down. The debilitating condition that left her in a wheelchair was no match for the champion, who’s now ready for her next challenge.

“I was always the feisty girl that you’ll see trying to battle every guy. I’m a break dancer, so I’m known all over the world as Lady Champ.”

She was one of the best, battling to make a name for herself in the male dominated culture of break dancing. The determination she showed on the streets would soon serve her well in a different arena.

“It was hard because I went from a fast-paced life, you know I was a mom, I was working, I was dancing, I was traveling, I was doing so many things at once, and then everything just stopped.”

The symptoms were subtle, the diagnosis devastating, transverse myelitis, inflammation that causes excessive damage to nerve fibers in the spinal cord. In lady champ’s case, the condition left her paralyzed.

“About three months I was in a wheelchair.”

Her doctors told her she’d likely never regain her leg function. It was a prognosis she simply didn’t accept.

“I never thought I wasn’t going to walk again. I would tell people, ‘Just give me two weeks, give me a month, I’ll be walking again.’ I don’t know how I never doubted it. I knew in my heart I was going to walk again.”

She pushed herself with small steps, then some standing. After months of rehabilitation, she walked. But, six years later, the effects still linger.

“I can’t feel my toes, I can’t feel hot or cold. Because I was paralyzed from here down I have a lot of bladder issues. I get stiffness, pain.”

“When she came here, she told me ‘I’m Lady Champ,’ she goes, ‘They told me I would never walk again, and I taught myself how to walk again.’ She’s hardcore.”

So when she was asked to participate in the wings for life world run a 10-mile race that benefits spinal cord research she was all in. But first, she had to build up her strength.

“She had some atrophy from being paralyzed for three, four months. So we kind of had to build that strength back up, loosen everything up because she just didn’t have the mobility that she needs to walk properly or run.”

Trainer David Hardin has been working with Lady Champ for four months and on race day he’ll go the distance with her.

“We’re going to try to run 10 miles. I’ll be right there alongside of her, running step by step.”

“I’m nervous, but I can do this. I can do it. I’m a champ.”

The wings for life world run will take place on May 4th in 35 locations around the globe. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit spinal cord injury research.

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