Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

Hard Work, Persistence & Determination—A Step in the Right Direction

Toasting a marshmallow July 4th Weekend

I struggle with my daily challenge of exercising, keeping my therapy regimen alive and strict.  This has become more of a mental challenge as my body craves movement and exercise, incorporating the breath and meditation with my daily yoga practice.  I ache to walk and I want it badly…some days more than others.  As with anything or any person in this day and age, I thrive on instant gratification.  I meditate on coming to terms with the realistic fact that my return to walking and full recovery is going to be super slow. I keep my mind present with the notion that I accept my body as it is and I fill myself with gratitude for the restored function I am blessed to have.

On Thursday night, July 3rd, Rusty Crossland had me speak to his Primerica Financial Services audience—a group that almost stretched to 1,000 people in a huge conference room in Snowmass Village.  My message was one of transformation.  That is, accepting change isn’t enough.  How does one arrive at a place of true transformation?  My message was powerful.  I felt the receptiveness and energy from the audience, which lifted me up as my voice spoke from my most authentic corner in my Being.  Like a miniscule bundle of light that rose deep within my core, I felt the rush of white rays engulfing my presence and emanating into the mass of people.  This is the type of speaking that I cherish, for it is not my voice, but a voice of the Divine that flows through me.  Les Brown, master motivator calls “it” the Zone.  I call it my Divine Self…I simply become the messenger. 

Rusty is that one person who initially believed in my vision from the beginning. Within twelve hours of sending out my first fundraising letter to pursue my embryonic stem cell journey to India, Rusty called asking me, “What do you need Amanda?  I believe in you and want to help make your dream happen.”  It took one individual like Rusty for me to begin to realize my dream….and then an entire community jumped on board to support me.  While my spinal cord injury took away my ability to walk, it didn’t take away my ability to dream…and then turn my dreams into my reality.  Rusty, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to inspire such an outstanding and passionate audience.  You are a leader whom I look up to and respect.

Still, as I speak of transformation, there are times when my disability is in my face.  I am human.  This past 4th of July weekend Dale came home having been gone for almost a month.  We ventured into the Rocky Mountain wilderness to the Capitol Peak trailhead. 

Way up high we found a camping spot tucked away in a tall Aspen grove, with lush underbrush and majestic breath-taking views of the mountains beyond.  Tucker was in golden retriever heaven.  I was raw with nature.  I inhaled the crisp mountain air into the bottomless alcoves of my lungs.  My hair and my clothes smelled of campfire and dirt edged beneath my fingernails.  With a hint of diarrhea that came on suddenly, my disability was glaring at me like one massive silverback gorilla.  I had zero modern conveniences at my fingertips…and I had to surrender to my stubborn independence requiring Dale’s help.  He was a champion.  I felt my raw undignified humanness fully exposed to the world.  We were together.  We soaked in the spirit of the mountains, the bugs, the wildflowers, and fresh morning dew with a pot of campfire coffee.  Aaaaah.  I am transported back to that instant gulping in the pure flavor of summer in the Rockies.  What a beautiful time to connect with the man that I love so very much, and what an opportune time for each of us to restore our spirits with the grace of mother earth.

Dale with Tucker

As I enter into the weeks ahead, I am renewed.  I will work diligently toward my goal stretching and nurturing my embryonic stem cell body to its maximum potential.  I bring life into my body that is alive.  When I want it so badly—meaning to walk and use my bladder and bowels to their fully restored function—I keep the faith and hope present.  Dale had made a comment that night by the campfire’s light, “Do you ever get tired of being in a wheelchair?”  He could see it in my face.  He could feel it in my spirit.  He knew.  Dale is a part of me and I am a part of him.  I ached so badly to hike amongst the columbine and lupine.  I wanted to tiptoe to the mountain’s edge and peak over the rim into the valley floor.  I wanted to feel the grass crunch as I trampled footsteps on a worn trail.  Yet it all played out in my mind.  That’s all I could do.  I want it so.  I ache to walk. Yes, oh how I ache to walk.  I am real, and I am human.  This is what makes me the woman that I am.  I transcend these feelings into my soul and I somehow arrive back to a place of contentment and gratitude for all that I have.  I will never give up the hope but I embrace and accept the body that is mine right now. 

As a newborn babe I crawl from my mother’s womb

And stand on wobbly legs in the new world,

Wash the new body that has just been

So tenderly born from a lifetime labor,

And walk to stand before the fire.

I raise my face to your infinite sky

And feel your touch of grace:

Your gentle raindrops kissing my skin,

Your singing wind that moves the trees,

The hot breath of your dancing fire,

Your wet, rich earth beneath my feet.

O Spirit, I recognize you now:

My father, my mother, my unseen lover—

You’ve been here always in all things,

In all things has your spirit lived for me,

From all things has your spirit loved me.

Through all things has your spirit touched me.

And never was I left alone, nor could I be

In this truer world of holy people

And living stone.


            Rochelle Wallace (Earth Prayers)


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