Christina's Story

Spinal Cord Injury

RIM gives hope of walking again

In June of 2015, Christina Hurst was visiting friends in Grand Ledge, Michigan, when she took her dog Mason for an evening walk.  It was raining as they hiked along the ledges, and suddenly, both fell 35Christina2017-04 feet down the side of a cliff. Throughout the night, Christina was in and out of consciousness, yelling for help when she could.

“I couldn’t move and was stuck under a bush. Finally at 5 a.m. someone heard me and got help.”  

At a nearby trauma hospital, she was told she had a broken back and ribs, and that she was paralyzed from a spinal cord injury (SCI). Within hours, doctors did surgery to repair her back.  After a week, she was transferred to inpatient rehab. Christina and her family decided that DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan would give her the best chance for a recovery.  

“When I arrived at RIM, I was extremely scared and sad. But nurses and therapists told me that I was in the best possible place for my recovery, and, they were right.”

With intense daily physical and occupational therapy, Christina quickly regained some feeling and movement. By the time she left five weeks later, she could transfer, sit on her own and stand for short periods of time in a standing frame.

Today, Christina continues to do outpatient therapy two times a week at RIM's Center for SCI Recovery. She is taking steps thanks to Ekso, RIM’s robotic exoskeleton, which strengthens her legs and improves her gait. Therapists are talking about fitting her for leg braces so she can walk independently.  

“Every time they test me, I’m stronger and have greater ability. I’m really excited. If there’s any team that can help me reach my goals, it’s RIM.  I’m forever grateful to each and every one of them!”