Paralysed teenager has ‘very good chance of recovery’

Published: December 7, 2009  |  Source: timesofmalta.com
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20091207Aspiring model Vladislava Kravchenko has a very good chance of recovery form her paralysis, according to doctors in Moscow, where she has now begun stem cell treatment.

“It’s great, I’m really happy. They’re helping a lot of people here. I am filled with hope,” Ms Kravchenko said.

The doctors said that her injury was not extremely severe and, although the stem cells affected people differently, she seemed to be one of the more hopeful cases.

She managed to raise €25,000 for her first of many trips, enabling her to start treatment in time, just over a year after a lighting structure fell on her at a party in Qawra, confining the active 18-year-old to a wheelchair.

Speaking from Moscow, she said that for the past two weeks doctors had been testing her body and extracting cells to begin the process of injecting them into her spinal cord.

“They told me I need to have specific goals, like that I want to walk, run and dance again. Otherwise, I can just go home now. They are very motivating and I’m excited.”

Ms Kravchenko, who is of Ukranian origin, flew to Moscow two weeks ago and was impressed by the “sophisticated” and “huge” stem cell hospital.

There she met another girl, from America, who has been undergoing the treatment for three years.

“Before the treatment, all she could do was talk. Now she’s walking. Her mobility is not perfect but it’s very encouraging to see how this treatment has helped her.”

Ms Kravchenko, or Vlada, as her friends know her, has raised money for her treatment through a multimedia campaign launched in July (www.helpvlada.com). Although stem cells can become cancerous, she was told that her treatment is the least risky because she is using her own adult cells.

Ms Kravchenko will be back in Malta in time for Christmas. She hopes her success story will inspire others to take stem cell treatments seriously. She is involved in a legal battle for compensation with the company that supplied the lighting fixtures for the party but although she is confident she will win the court case, she knows it would be years before she sees any money and, therefore, relies on donations for her treatment. Last June, the director of the company responsible for the structure that collapsed was charged with causing Ms Kravchenko grievous injuries through negligence.

Despite the accident having happened days before she was meant to start Sixth Form at St Aloysius’ College, Ms Kravchenko still managed to finish her first year and is determined to continue studying.

Christian Peregin