Cumberland County man overcomes unexpected paralysis

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A Cumberland County Man is overcoming all odds, one step at a time.  Over a year ago, he underwent surgery.  When he woke up, he was physically disabled and couldn't even stand up.  But his support helped him get back on his feet.

Getting back to another school year as facilities manager at East Pennsboro Schools hasn't been easy.

"One day you're walking, the next day you're not," says Preston Brandt.

In January of last year, Brandt's spinal cord disease got worse.

"The calcifications started to grow and it wrapped itself around my spinal cord," says Brandt.

So he underwent surgery to stabilize his neck with rods.

He says, "I failed and wound up in ICU, paralyzed from the neck down."

His surgery may have failed, but he soon found success at Helen Simpson Rehabilitation Hospital, in Harrisburg.

"If I could stand for 30 seconds, that was an accomplishment and maybe the next day it was a minute," says Brandt.

Randall Shelley is the director of Rehab Therapy Services at Helen Simpson.  He says his team set a goal with Brandt and worked every day for about five months to achieve it.

Shelley says, "Once we got him to stand for a significant amount of time, we started trying to get him to take steps...A disability is the greatest fear because you have no control and we as therapists, nursing physicians, we are there to guide, help and have that patient never give up hope...Preston did the work, we're just there to guide him."

Plus, Brandt's family gave him strength through his journey.

"My wife came in everyday, I saw my children on the weekends and they were my motivation."

His story serves as an inspiration for others to follow in his footsteps.

Brandt says, "It will be one of the hardest things you'll ever do in your life, but if you're capable and willing, do your best...I'm just blessed to be here and to walk and do what I can."


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