An Australian stroke victim who has been paralyzed for more than two decades can walk again after being treated with the popular anti-wrinkle drug Botox.
Russel McPhee, from Gippsland, Victoria was a fit, healthy meat worker who played football, cricket and basketball when, at the age of 26, he collapsed suddenly at work.
When he woke up in hospital he was told he had suffered a devastating stroke and that he would never walk again.
"I felt my life had ended," he told The Times. "I lost my job, my wife left me, and I ended up with nothing."
Today, McPhee, 49, can walk almost unaided for more than 20 yards and can cover more than 100 yards with walker.
His dramatic improvement came after he was treated with the botulinum toxin injections, at the St. John of God rehabilitation center in Nepean, Victoria.
Just one month after his first Botox injection, he was able to stand up and walk a few yards.
"He is the best example we have of such significant gains after treatment with botulinum toxin,” rehabilitation specialist Dr. Nathan Johns said. “Other patients have shown improvement, but they were already ambulant.”
"I thought I would die in my wheelchair,” McPhee said. “My life has started all over again.”
Here in the United States, the use of Botox in stroke victims is still “off label”, meaning it’s not approved for use in stroke patients by the Food and Drug Administration.