Paralyzed St. George man could walk with new stem cell technology

Photo of Andy Traveller who was paralyzed after a car accident. Location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dennis Traveller, St. George News

ST. GEORGE On March 2 of this year, while on his way home from work as a Las Vegas, Nevada, Metropolitan policeman, St. George native Andy Traveller was in a serious car accident that, in addition to other traumatic injuries, left him paralyzed. The devastating injuries have caused Andy Traveller and his family to adjust to a whole new life … but there may be hope for him to regain some movement in his legs and possibly even walk again.

Andy Traveller was born and raised in Southern Utah; he was very active and loved wakeboarding and snowboarding. He attended Snow Canyon High School where he played football until he became passionate about becoming a paramedic, his father, Dennis Traveller, said

“He got really into paramedics,” Dennis Traveller said. “He quit football to take EMT and paramedic classes.”

Andy Traveller worked for Dixie Ambulance for several years as a paramedic and is highly regarded by his former co-workers.

“He was a great partner,” former co-worker and partner at Dixie Ambulance, Karli Humphries said. “He was one of the best paramedics.”

While some paramedics could get big heads about the job they perform, Humphries said that Andy Traveller always remained down to earth and dedicated to serving others.

Andy Traveller later moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he became a police officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and was working toward becoming a Search and Rescue officer with the department, according to information on his GoFundMe page.

But Andy Traveller’s dreams of becoming a Search and Rescue officer were put on hold the day of the accident.

Dennis Traveller said:

He was going home from work. It was a freak accident. He hit a wet spot on Interstate 215, flipped his truck and broke his back. He hasn’t walked since March. He has no function from the bottom of his rib cage down.

While life for Andy Traveller and his family has not been the same since March, there remains a chance he may be able to regain some movement in his legs.

According to the same GoFundMe page, Andy Traveller’s surgeon believes he is a prime candidate for stem cell therapy, but the procedure has to be done out of the country.

“Because of the type of injury, they believe he has a 60-70 percent chance to get function back in his legs,” Dennis Traveller said. “So we decided to give it a shot.”

In addition to the type of injury he sustained, Andy Traveller’s father believes Andy is a prime candidate because of the type of person he is.

“He is so determined,” Dennis Traveller said.

Humphries echoed those sentiments as well.

“His whole world changed, but he still has the same personality,” Humphries said. “He never says ‘poor me, poor me,’ instead it is always ‘we will get through this, we will be fine.'”

Andy Traveller left for Greece Dec. 10 to begin the stem cell therapy as well as to have some additional surgical procedures on his back, Dennis Traveller said. A  GoFundMe page has been set up to help Andy Traveller and his family with doctor and travel expenses.

Ed. note: When making charitable contributions it is advisable to consult with professionals for tax advice and investment risks.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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