Almost eight years ago, after suffering a fall that left him paralyzed from the neck down, doctors told Exeter resident Bryan Danny Bomboy that he would never be able move his arms and legs again. He said his first thought after hearing this news was "you don't know me."
He was right. Today Bomboy has regained movement in his neck and arms, and he'll be sharing his story on Tuesday, April 3, at Misericordia University from 7 to 9 p.m.
Bomboy has suffered from paralysis since November of 2004, when he fell off a roof in West Pittston while cleaning rain spouts off a friend's house.
He broke his neck in two places and his back in three as a result of the fall, and the injury left him unable to feel most of his body.
"For the first two years I could only move my eyes. They told me that's all I would ever have for the rest of my life," said Bomboy.
Through hard work, Bomboy has made progress that has left doctors scratching their heads.
"I've regained mobility in both arms, there's movement in my fingers," said Bomboy. "This wasn't supposed to happen. There's no case in history that has seen these results."
While the progress he's achieved is something to celebrate, the road to get there wasn't an easy one. Bomboy said over the years he has been in and out of hospital care, flat-lined six times, had both lungs collapse twice and been in a coma.
He said it wasn't until his current occupational therapist, Tom Swartwood, from Celtic Healthcare, began working with him that he started to experience some success.
"I never would have gotten this far without his help," said Bomboy.
"The agency I had before discontinued services with me. I was granted $3,000 for therapy and they told me it would be better suited for somebody who had a better chance. So when Tom came I said, ‘Just stick with me, I'm telling you it's in there.'"
Tom did, and Bomboy said 90 percent of the credit for what he's achieved so far belongs to him, along with Daria Kapalka, a nurse with Celtic Healthcare, and her staff.
"I want to extend my gratitude to Celtic Healthcare and Interim Home Healthcare for their years of loyalty and dedication, along with family and friends," said Bomboy.
Bomboy said he's hoping those in attendance on Tuesday will take something away from this story.
"I'm hoping to let them (the audience) know that when a patient tells you that they're feeling something inside not to give up because you don't see it," said Bomboy.
He's also hoping the lecture can help further his progress by raising money for a procedure that could help him regain more feeling in his body.
Bomboy has been accepted as a candidate for a clinical trial study at the California Stem Cell Treatment Center.
If he's accepted, doctors will take stem cells from his teeth and extract bone marrow from his hip and perform a fusion. The procedure has already shown positive results in others, and could result in Bomboy regaining functional use of his limbs.
He has to be reviewed by doctors before he can be accepted, and he has to have the money for the procedure before he can be reviewed.
Bomboy said the procedure can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. In effort to raise money, Misericordia will hold a bake sale with all proceeds going to Bombay, and collect a donation during the lecture.
This is one of several fundraisers being planned for Bomboy. Diane's Deli, in Pittston, is also hosting a dance on Saturday, April 21.
If for any reason doctors are unable to perform the procedure, Bomboy said he will donate the money he's raised to the Christopher Reeves Paralysis Foundation.
Those interested in making a donation, but who are unable to attend, can send a donation to Fidelity Bank, c/o Bryan Danny Bomboy Stem Cell Fund, 801 Wyoming Ave., West Pittston, Pa.