‘I’m very honoured’: Partially paralyzed man to participate in clinical trial

News source from CTV News

More than 18 months after Landon Smith suffered a neck injury that left him partially paralyzed, he’s about to participate in a clinical trial in the United States that could change his life.

The 20-year-old broke his neck when he jumped into a foam pit at a trampoline park in Sherwood Park during his friend’s birthday party. A witness said he jumped into the pit and then stopped moving. He was taken to the University of Alberta Hospital where he underwent surgery.

He was paralyzed from the chest down, and has been undergoing rehabilitation. Now, he’s preparing to travel to Miami, Florida, to participate in a clinical trial.

“It means the world to me,” Smith said. “I’ve been stripped of everything in my life. It’s quite a debilitating injury from everything, all aspects of life. You really get affected in everything … I’m very excited.”

He said his injury had to meet specific criteria, and he had to reach a certain point in his recovery in order to qualify for the trial.

“It just happened to be that I was able to fit that exact criteria for them,” Smith said. “They brought people all over the world to try to fit this criteria and a lot of them haven’t been able to, so I’m very honoured to be a part of this.”

Smith will travel south in early October for the trial. In the procedure, cells will be harvested from a nerve in the back of his leg, and injected into his spinal cord. He will be the first Canadian and the youngest person ever, to participate in the clinical trial.

The Miami Project will cover the cost of housing for Smith, but the cost of medical care and living expenses are expected to be about $100,000.

A fundraising effort is underway and $23,000 has already been collected, mostly from friends and family.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Smith’s costs.

With files from David Ewasuk

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