No Worries, No Fears & No Regrets! Only Hope, Strength & Determination describe Stephanie Copeland.
Richmond is home to Stephanie, a young woman with great strength and determination to beat the odds. Her amazing story of triumph will inspire you.
April 14, 2004 is forever etched in her memory. It was the day she broke her back at the 10th thoracic vertebrae, broke several ribs, punctured one lung, and sustained a minor head injury from a car accident. Her spinal cord was smashed and the medical staff gave her no hope of walking or regaining sensation below her belly button.
Trusting what the doctors said about her diagnosis, she began to wonder, “Was this it? Would I never use my legs again?”
Stephanie’s determination to “walk again” led her across the nation in search of answers.
After insurance covered 90 days of therapy, she was sent on to live in a wheelchair and told the things she could still do (but in a chair). This was not acceptable for her, so she searched until she found a place that gave her more options to get back on her feet.
She has been part of 3 different programs throughout the US, 2 in California and one in Texas, working to build her strength and fighting the fight one step at a time. These intensive exercise based recovery programs believe that people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) have another option for recovery. People are looking for alternative therapies and for HOPE that the chair is not the end.
Since working out, she has gained most of her hip flexors back, increased muscle strength in her legs and is able to connect her brain with muscles below her level of injury. Through repetitive movements and training, muscle stimulation, acupuncture and massage, these connections within her nervous system will only continue to grow stronger, as will her muscles. The trainers have said her abilities and strengths are very promising, but she has to continue therapy and focus on the parts of her body which are weak and paralyzed.
STEM CELL TREATMENT
In April 2008 she was one of six Americans to travel to Lima, Peru to receive her first stem cell treatments. There are different types of stem cells available. When someone hears “stem cells” they automatically think embryonic/fetal stem cells. But the stem cells Stephanie received were from the umbilical cord after birth. During her two weeks in Peru, she received three injections of neuron stem cells and five growth factors to help the cells differentiate and grow. Click here to read more about her stem cell therapy.
Five weeks after returning from Peru, she made her first voluntary movement with her legs. With feet hanging off the therapy table, she was told, “Kick your right foot up! Her quad fired and her leg appeared to be straight in the mirror. Thinking the mirror was broken, she tried again and the mirror did not lie. Her first, official, full voluntary movement in four years! She was able to kick her foot up to fully extend her leg.
Stephanie’s journey has led her around the world. Her determination to beat the odds is keeping her focused on her goals and to help other spinal cord victims along the way.
EDUCATION GOALS ACHIEVED
Stephanie is forward thinking and nothing stops her from achieving her goals. Since her accident she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (with a Human Resource and Management Focus) in June 2007. She accomplished her education goal and graduated in the top 1% of her class at Strayer University and was invited to become a member of the Alpha Chi National Scholarship and Honor Society.
HOME SWEET HOME
After traveling around the world and experiencing several “good times” along the way, she is back home in Richmond, VA. She is a Spinal Cord Injury Mentor, Public Speaker, Fundraising Advisor & Planner, Wildtree Herbs Representative and is currently employed at the Positive Vibe Café. AND she is a contestant for the Ms. Wheelchair Virginia Pageant in 2011.
But this is not the end of her story, just the continuation. Stephanie’s dream is to open her own fitness center for those with spinal cord injuries and other disabling conditions, so she can help others get to their next level of independence.
To contact Stephanie:
“For some, attitude presents a difficulty in every opportunity; for others it presents an opportunity in every difficulty”
Did you find this article informative? Receive email alerts when new articles are available. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.
If you have a resource or event to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org