Injured bicyclist raising funds for spinal cord surgery in China


Jennifer Smith

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - It's been nearly three years since a vehicle hit cyclist Jennifer Smith and her friend at Redstone Arsenal. The incident left Smith paralyzed. "We were riding tandem, I was behind Joanna and we got hit from behind by a GMC truck," Smith said.

Smith was in the hospital for three months, after the crash. "It left me with a broken back, spinal cord injury. I'm paralyzed from the knees down," Smith said.

She said it was hard getting use to being paralyzed. "When I was released from the hospital, I actually cried because it was kind of scary, trying to live day to day life with my disability now," Smith said.

She use to love running and can no longer do it. She has since found other hobbies and is still able to go to the gym. She lives vicariously through her husband. "What's funny is I sign him up for races that I want to do so I'll call him and say you're doing this race," Smith said.

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Her attitude will help her with her next phase in life. She's launched a GoFundMe account to get to China to have surgery. "It's spinal cord construction surgery and they also inject stem cells into your spinal cord," Smith said.

The $31,000 surgery will hopefully help her walk again without a walker, but it's not guaranteed. Smith has looked at doctors in the state, but said they are all about teaching people to live with their disability. "That's a good thing because they helped me through physical and occupation therapy," Smith said.

She said she has read several success stories from the surgery being performed on other people. Smith plans to travel to China in 2018 with her husband.

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