13 March 2009

Louisiana boy hopes stem cell treatment will help him walk

March 11, 2009 04:26 PM
Kyle Stewart
By Keitha Nelson -

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - President Barack Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for stem cell research this week, fueling the argument about whether it's a vital medical advancement or murder, but for one seven-year-old Louisiana boy with a brain disorder, stem cell treatment may be his only hope.

Watch Him

On any given day, Kyle Stewart can be found rolling around in his wheelchair. He doesn't let his disability get in the way of being a kid. He fishes, plays baseball, and loves to ride horses. Kyle aspires to be a professional bull rider when he gets older and his mom wants to make sure his dream comes true.

Patricia Stewart and her only child are headed to China for umbilical cord stem cell treatment. Kyle will get stem cells through an IV. "They say that it could help with trunk control," Stewart said. "And his hand movements and his head control." She says the treatment for neurological disorders is not available in the United States, but she thinks it should be. Stem cell research has a number of opponents because in some cases, embryos are destroyed to create the cell lines. Stewart argues that if it helps people, there shouldn't be a big issue. "It's so hard until you're in the position and it's your child," she said. "Then you believe that whatever needs to be done you would do."

Determined to help her son, Stewart and her family have planned fundraisers and benefits, with the hopes that a trip to China and some tiny cells will make a huge difference. "We just hope that maybe something can help, a little change, a little better. We would be completely happy with that," she said.

Kyle is not alone. Connor Corken is a two-year-old boy from Amite who returned from China in August of last year after receiving umbilical cord stem cell treatments. He was blind. Little Connor can now see light, shadows, and movement. If you would like to help Kyle get his treatment in China, click here.

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