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This is one in a series of occasional updates on the lives of people featured by STAT during our first year.

Jesi Stracham used to captivate biotech investors and inadvertently move markets with social media posts documenting her dogged quest to get out of her wheelchair and back onto her feet.


These days, the energetic 24-year-old North Carolina resident goes online to tell a different story. Many of her Facebook and Instagram posts show her competing in off-road vehicle races, an adaptive water skiing competition, and a pageant for women with disabilities.

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  • Hello and thanks for the article about Jesi. I read it when it was fresh then I saw it again yesterday after I had an update from Jesi. I think you might want to update the world on the return of Jesi’s legs. She can now stand into a walker and swing her legs while sitting. These are new changes consistent with the implant inventor’s long-term expectations.

  • Does anyone know when the “initial” ASIA exam is done from which they are determining improvement? Working in rehab, there are already differences between an initial exam in acute, a rehab admission exam, and a rehab discharge exam. “Most” patient do see some improvement in their classification over this time without anything other than standard rehab. So, telling me that someone went from A to B or B to C does not really give us any indication of if or how they have improved functionally.

  • Chances are that if she does convert to a grade B or grade C in her January evaluation, it WOULD most likely be due to the scaffold implanted in 2015. By the time it dissolves, the area of injury has healed to the point that there is reduced scar tissue and a bed of neuro-permissive support tissue through which new nerve tracts can grow. It is supportive of on-going neuroplasticity and improvement, and this is not limited to a shorter time frame. It would be well noted that this patient was severely injured with multiple insults and nearly died.

  • For many people with disabilities the frustration is the focus on the CURE instead on improving services and opportunities to improve the quality of life and improving supports that improve our independent life to live independently in the community instead of the institutional care. At the present, many in the disability community are anxious to see how the new administration will roll out in our daily lives.

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