NEW ORLEANS – Dryden Corvers is paralyzed from the waist down. Just two months ago, the Harahan toddler wasn't able to crawl, or stand.
But that has changed for the 22 month old since an experimental treatment in late March.
Dryden is now crawling on his own, and standing. His physical therapist is using leg braces and a small walker to help him learn to walk.
Eyewitness News first introduced you to Dryden in November. He has spina bifida, a crippling birth defect. His spinal cord didn’t fuse all the way, leaving a hole in his back and fluid in his brain. Doctors who diagnosed him in the womb didn’t expect him to survive.
But now, Dryden is once again beating the odds.
“After the [November] news story ran, we wound up raising almost $8,000. $4,000 of that was almost overnight,” said Dryden’s mom Kellee Bell.
Then, Addie’s Angels stepped in. The non-profit offers help to disabled children in the New Orleans Metro area. It offered to foot the bill for the experimental treatment Dryden’s family had been hoping for.
In late March, Dryden's family took him to the Nova Cells Institute in Mexico. It offers non-embryonic stem cell treatments not currently available in the United States.
They're designed to awaken damaged nerves.
The rest of the donations went toward travel costs, equipment, and physical therapy post-treatment.
“As soon as he woke up we started noticing differences,” said Bell. “His feet were twitching a lot.”
Bell said his lower extremities also became warm, where they had previously been cold and “splotchy” from lack of circulation.
Now, less than two months later, his family is impressed with his improvement.
“He's climbing everything, he's crawling all over the place and everyday he's getting stronger,” said Bell.
Bell also said issues with Dryden’s bladder and bowels have drastically improved.
Dryden continues to undergo intensive physical therapy. His therapist, Susan Kurtz, says he's made incredible progress.
“I really have seen him flourish since the stem cell treatment,” said Kurtz.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration is still researching stem cell products. It has approved only one so far.
The FDA’s website says researchers are hopeful that stem cells could one day treat many medical conditions, but warns against using unapproved treatments that could pose health risks.
The FDA advises families to ensure that any stem cell treatments they receive outside the U.S. are regulated and safe.
Dryden’s family continues to raise money for innovative physical therapy and treatment. To learn more, log onto https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/8hz2/dreaming-for-dryden-stem-cell-fund or his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DreamingForDryden.