Published: 00:01, 09 January 2018
A night out with mates changed Dan Woodall's life after he fell into a ditch and woke up paralysed.
Dan, 26, from Rainham, has no recollection of what happened after he wandered out of nightclub to have a cigarette.
He came round at about 5.30am and managed to grab the attention of a man walking home from a night shift.
Since that fateful evening 18 months ago, Dan has been in and out of hospital and is still receiving intensive treatment.
Electrician Dan was initially told by doctors that he had a 0.5% chance of ever walking again. He is wheelchair-bound and unable to work.
But in recent months he has embarked on a pioneering technique backed by American actor and quadriplegic, the late Christopher Reeve who played Superman.
The results have been amazing. He can now wriggle his toes and has muscle movement in his legs.
Dan, who lives in Birling Avenue, said: “My short term goal is to be able to stand up with aids and then build on this to stand without them.
"Long term, of course, the goal is to walk again. Nobody knows how far I can get in restoring strength, sensation or movement.”
His harrowing ordeal started in June 2016, on a night out at Strawberry Moons in Maidstone when he left his party and ended up collapsing near the Sainsbury’s supermarket in the town.
He has no idea how he got there and doctors have said he suffered from a "drunken blackout" believing his drink could have been spiked.
When he woke up he said his legs "felt dead and floppy" and he was in pain.
He was taken to King’s College Hospital in London and, after being stabilised, was transferred to the specialist St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, where he spent the next five weeks.
It was while he was there that his condition deteriorated and he developed septicaemia and E-coli and spinal fluid rushed to his brain.
As he fought off the life-threatening infection, Dan shed five stone in weight and lost a lot of muscle in his legs.
He then went to the orthopaedic centre Stanmore, in Middlesex, where he was told about Neurokinex, which uses electrical stimulation to move muscles.
He now attends a clinic at Gatwick twice a week and his friend Danny Lowman oversees exercise at the flat he shares with girlfriend Kayleigh Hutchinson.
His family, including mother Lorraine Sweeney, who has helped to raise money for the £70 sessions, have been very supportive.
Dan said: “In June an MRI scan showed that my spinal cord is going round the injury.
“The surgeon said he had never seen this before and we don’t know yet what it will mean
for me in the future. But if anyone can make it happen, Neuro-kinex can.”
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