WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - With just the mere mention of "stem cell research," you've got a debate on your hands. It may be medical or moral, but some say the medical miracles happening because of it speak for themselves.
However, in order to get some forms of such treatment you'll have to go to another country. That's the dilemma for a Washington County, Virginia man who's been paralyzed for the past 14 years and wants to walk again.
Tim Barr sits and admires some of his hunting trophies that fill his rural mountain home. The skilled hunter got all of his trophies despite being confined to a wheelchair since age 17. "I was 17 in 1999, August 30. We were just across the hill on the farm putting up tobacco. The truck that we were using jumped out of gear, threw me off the back, ran over me and broke my back," Tim recalled.
He told us after sitting around two years feeling sorry for himself, he decided to get back into the world. He did so as an emergency dispatcher for the Washington County Sheriffs Office, an ambulance driver for the life-saving crew, and a dispatcher for the Virginia State Police. "I never was one that wanted to depend on everybody else. I always wanted to help out and do whatever I could for others, and always enjoyed it," he said.
But for the past 14 years, he's had a dream of walking again. Now, with modern medicine, he may see that dream become a reality. "It's been in the back of my mind, it's been on my heart to always to get back to be where I could walk again. After we got to looking into different things, it's been made possible. Other people are having that dream too," Tim says.
But that means a stem cell treatment to help re-grow his spine. That has to be done in another country, because it's not approved in the United States. His insurance won't cover it, so that means a lot of money has to be raised.
But his motivation may encourage others to help. "People talk about it says, what do you want to do when you get back to walking. Going in the woods, hunting, fishing -- sure, that's a goal, but the main goal, I've told them and told them, I don't care who hears it. My main goal is to be able to stand in the pulpit and preach the word of God," he told us.
He's still helping people; maybe not physically, but spiritually.
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