If there was ever a woman on a mission, it’s Laura Dominguez. Doctors once told her she’d never walk again. And while she’s not ready to run a marathon, she’s already proving them wrong, with the best yet to come.
An oil spill on a San Antonio freeway is blamed for the car crash that sent Laura and her brother directly into a retaining wall one summer afternoon in 2001. Laura was just 16 years old at the time and the crash left her completely paralyzed from the neck down. Surgeons say she suffered what’s known as a C6 vertebrae fracture that severely damaged her spinal cord.
“I refused to accept their prognosis that I never would walk again and began searching for other options,” says Laura. After stays in several hospitals for nearly a year, Laura and her mother relocated to San Diego, CA so that she could undergo extensive physical therapy. While in California, they met a family whose daughter was suffering from a similar spinal cord injury. They were also looking for other alternatives to deal with spinal cord injuries.
After extensive research and consultations with medical experts in the field of spinal cord injuries, they decided to explore a groundbreaking new surgical procedure using adult stem cells pioneered by Dr. Carlos Lima of Portugal.
The surgery involved the removal of tissue from the olfactory sinus area— at the back of the nose--and transplanting it into the spinal cord at the injury site. Both procedures, the harvesting of the tissue and the transplant, were done at the same time. Laura was the tenth person in the world and the second American to have this procedure done and was featured in a special report by PBS called “Miracle Cell.” (Link to Miracle Cell (PBS) Episode) .... more