TRURO – Dan Huntley answered his door without his cane.
If it were three weeks ago, it would have been a different story. He would’ve used either his cane or a wheelchair. But things have changed for the 68-year-old after he travelled to Mexico for stem cell treatment.
“I call it fantastic,” said Huntley, who survived a stroke almost 10 years ago. “I met a lot of Godly people. It was a Godly experience.”
Huntley left for Tijuana on May 7 for a 24-hour treatment process with laboratory primed umbilical cord stem cells. The treatment also included intravenous transfusions of Nova Cells Institute of Mexico's 'Beacon Factor.'
“I believe in it and I believe it’s the next generation in medicine, just like penicillin was,” said the Truro resident. “Regardless of what Canada and the U.S. says about it. They don’t know about it. I didn’t know about it, but I know about it now.”
Nine years ago this past March, Huntley was attending a church service in Antigonish when he felt pain in the right side of his head. When it was time to leave the church, Huntley wasn’t able to grip a railing to help himself down the stairs.
The stroke left him paralyzed on his left side.
“My treatment finished at about 4 p.m. on a Friday, and within two hours, I felt strong strength-wise,” he said. “When I would stand up, I could actually balance. Now, I can put my weight on my left leg. I could before, but my leg was shaky.”
A few years ago, Huntley had applied for clinical trials for the treatment but was never accepted.
Two years ago, he got his driver’s license back and purchased a new car in December 2013.
He opted for the treatment because of his age and quality of life.
“I honestly feel that it’s working. It’s going on 10 years since I’ve had my stroke. My body’s been asleep for that long. I feel it’s going to take a while. I didn’t go down there expecting to come back cured. It’s going to take some time.”
A few days following the treatment, Huntley regained some feeling in the bottom of his left foot. He can feel when his foot touches the floor, and can once again feel his toes.
“I still use my cane for safety. If I’m in my apartment, I don’t really use it, but I will use it going places. Sometimes I will take my wheelchair, but I will walk behind it and use it as a walker.”
Prior to the treatment, Huntley would trip while walking, even with his cane, but those instances have greatly reduced since.
“It’s great. I’ve got a lot better balance now. I don’t seem to trip like I used to. Before, my toes were curled down, but now they’re flat.”
Huntley has also seen his energy level improved, and doesn’t get as burned out anymore.
“Driving back from the airport, I was feeling nice and strong about the whole thing. I go visit people that I haven’t seen in a while, and this weekend I want to go to Antigonish to visit my parents. I have that energy. Now, I can walk further with my cane and I don’t get burnt out.”
Huntley went through Nova Cells Institute of Mexico for the treatment, paying for the cost himself. He said the treatment is customized to each client.
“I told my brother I was going to keep trying as long as I can afford it, and continue to live,” he said.
As he walked into the common room at the Wallace Living facility his apartment is in, two other residents were impressed with his progress.
“Look at you just flying,” one said, while smiling.