Arizona man gets stem cell therapy in Costa Rica

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    Mark Palmer, 29, was paralyzed from the chest down in a 2003 car accident. His car hydroplaned on a rainy stretch of I-40, and he was thrown from the vehicle.

    Five years later, his wife, Celeste, read about stem cell treatments and the potential to regenerate or replace damaged spinal cord tissue. However, no medical facilities in the U.S. are performing the stem cell treatments on paralysis patients yet. The couple found a clinic in Costa Rica called the Institute for Cellular Medicine. Mark says the facility claims an 80 percent success rate, when patients regain some movement or sensation.

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    Family, friends and a Valley charity called Positive Impact helped raise the $30,000 treatment and other expenses. Mark and Celeste left in late June. They’ll spend a month in Costa Rica.

    Mark says his Arizona doctor was not optimistic he would see results. The treatment is still considered experimental and Costa Rica has less rigid medical requirements than the U.S

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