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Woman who recovered from locked-in-syndrome offers inspiration

CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) -- A few months ago, Local 12 introduced you to Brett Walls who has locked-in-syndrome.
    
He had suffered a stroke that severed the bridge between his mind and body, making it difficult to move or communicate.  Tuesday, Brett Walls was able to say, "Hi" with his electronic letter board.  He has been fully aware of everything through his entire ordeal.  When locked-in-syndrome was first explained to Brett and his wife, Gayle, they were told to expect little more than eye movements for communication. 

But that's not so.

His wife Gayle said, "He's starting to speak, a little mobility, and the fact he's breathing on his own wasn't suppose to happen.  Moving his head quite a bit."

Last week Brett's trach was removed and he is now eating some soft foods.  The Walls are getting a big push to help with his recovery from Vicki Harris, who saw his story on Local 12 two months ago.

"I thought, 'This is the only person I've ever known who suffered a brain stem stroke," so I reached out to Gayle," Vicki explained. 

Vicki suffered the same fate at 38-years-old, 25 years ago.

She says, "By the grace of God I'm here now."

Vicki and her husband visit the hospital for the Walls' at least once a week and it's been a turning point.  Vicki has brought encouragement and laughter to the Walls in a way no one else could.

This experience with the Walls has made Vicki relive her own battle and she says it's made her stronger.  She feels it's been important to share her experience with the them.

"Because they tell you no one survives it... yes they do," Vicki says.

Vicki is living proof of that.  She is doing everything she did before, even driving after eight months of rehab.  And she believes Brett will be as well.

Brett said his first word to his mother on Mother's Day.  He said, "Mom."  Brett's family says fewer than one-percent of stroke victims have locked-in-syndrome so finding someone locally who had it and recovered is truly amazing.
  
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