Thursday, February 27, 2003

Some Good News


Silverton man is an inspiration

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Gregory Perry, who had spinal reconstructive surgery in August 2001, spends his days exercising, walking and talking by phone to people around the country who are interested in the surgery and his progress.

The 30-year-old Silverton man was shot Feb. 8, 1996, causing a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from his neck down.

Dr. Carl C. Kao, a neurosurgeon who directs a spinal cord clinic in Washington, D.C., performed the surgery on Perry.

"I have been getting calls from people from Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Alabama asking about the surgery, since they read about it in the Enquirer," Perry said. "I have become a morale booster for them. I tell them to stay focused and have patience. I let them know that you cannot recover from this kind of surgery overnight.

"Some of the calls are from people with spinal injuries and paralysis who want the surgery. Some have relatives or friends who want the surgery."

He said some callers want to come to Cincinnati and exercise with him.

He figures he is now walking close to two city blocks and thinks that is great progress.

"I take about 325 steps a day, and it is just as hard taking the 325 as it was taking the first step a year and a half ago. I have a long way to go, but I will never give up. I made a promise to myself that I will walk again, and I will spend the rest of my life striving for that goal," Perry said.

His walking is done with special boots and a walker. He said walking takes his exercising to another level.

"Exercising is easy compared to what I have to do to walk. It takes everything out of me. I take three or four steps and then I have to rest," he said.

stars

Patrick Struble, a senior at Xavier University, will take the cancer survivor's lap during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life April 4 and 5.

Struble is also chairing a committee to put together walking teams of students and faculty to participate in the relay.

"This is our first time participating in the relay on campus. We expect to get 25 teams," Struble said. "Our goal is to raise $25,000."

Struble, 21, is majoring in public relations. He said he had a bout with cancer in his freshman year in high school.

"I want to be involved as a survivor and help pay tribute to other survivors," he said.

The relay starts at 6 p.m. April 4 on the residential mall in front of the Gallagher Student Center. It will last 18 hours. Teams will take turns walking around the mall.

Spokeswoman Debora Del Valle said cancer survivors will take a lap together to symbolize the courage they and their families displayed in their lives.

A ceremony at 9 p.m. that day will include luminarias decorated with names of cancer survivors, and those lost to cancer, placed around the relay track.

Allen Howard's "Some Good News'' column runs Sunday-Friday. If you have suggestions about outstanding achievements, or people who are uplifting to the Tristate, let him know at 768-8362, at ahoward@enquirer.com or by fax at 768-8340.




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