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Woman Walks After 17 Years Paralysed

A touch of toning and woman can walk again after 17 years
By Nick Britten

A woman who has been paralysed from the waist down for 17 years is walking again after a chance two-minute session on a toning table.

Anne Bennett, 57, had consigned herself to a wheelchair after an accident carrying books caused a disc in her back to collapse and burst, crippling her with fibrosis.

But after losing weight and doing exercise, the pressure on her back from the toning table caused scar tissue to crack, allowing nerves to reconnect to her brain.

"It is absolutely astounding," she said last night. "I have been confined to a wheelchair for so long that I had almost given up hope of recovering.

"I had resigned myself to life in a chair, and didn't think for one second that the trip to the toning tables would lead to this."

Her GP, Dr Mark Ferris, said: "Given the thickness of the fibrosis, which I saw in Anne's notes, it should never have happened. It is very rare. I have only seen it once in 25 years of doctoring.

"Anne's determination, together with the sustained exercise programme she'd devised, time spent at the toning tables and losing weight all contributed to the breaking through of the fibrosis that she actually felt when she used a machine at her toning table class."

Mrs Bennett, of Llandudno, who also suffers from ME, was forced to give up her teaching job after the accident and became almost housebound. Doctors told her that it was unlikely she would walk again.

But she was determined to prove them wrong. She tried to keep fit and five weeks ago booked herself a session on the toning table — a machine that gently exercises a particular muscle group. She said after two minutes, she felt an excruciating pain in her back and initially feared she had done more damage.

"I went home and straight to bed," she said. "I was scared and didn't tell my husband what I'd done. Later that night I realised that my legs were doing what I was telling them to. My legs were listening to my brain for the first time I could remember.

"I got out of bed and put some weight on my feet. I wouldn't say I was walking, but I was staggering and I could put one foot in front of the other. It was astounding.

"The movement loosened scar tissue and allowed my nerves to work again.

"Now I have so much to look forward to. I find the most simple things exciting, like getting on an escalator or visiting a restaurant for the food and not for the wheelchair access."

She and her husband, Denis, 58, are planning to throw a huge party and will visit Venice next year.

"I missed out on so much while I was in the wheelchair," she said. "I had young children so there were things I couldn't do with them. My youngest child, Tamsin, is 21 and can't remember ever seeing me walk. When she saw me stand up for the first time she sobbed. I feel like my husband has his wife back after all these years."

Source Telegraph.co.uk