EASTON, Conn. -- A date has finally been set.
After months of planning, Zach Standen of Easton — a 17-year-old who became paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident last summer — will be going to the Stem Cell Institute in Panama on April 17.
Through a procedure at the institute, there is a 60 percent to 70 percent chance that Zach may regain some feeling and movement in his legs, according to his family.
In the procedure, “stem cells are taken from your own bone marrow and human umbilical cords and are reinjected into your body," said Zach’s mother, Christine Standen.
“This way, since it comes from Zach’s body, there is no of them getting rejected."
Zach, along with his mother and girlfriend Constance Rude, will be in Panama for 30 days -- returning May 15.
The trip costs $40,000, not including travel and food. To pay for the procedure, “We topped out our savings,” Standen said.
Through a post on the “ Support Zach Standen ,” Facebook page, Standen said, "We have saved every penny, used all the car insurance settlements and our tax return so that we can take Zach for this treatment."
Zach's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses. So far, the page has been shared 942 times. With 384 donations, it has raised $25,504 of a $100,000 goal.
While the Standen team is positive of the outcome of Zach’s procedure, they’re also trying to be realistic, Standen said.
“We are cautiously optimistic. We are holding out hope that Zach will have some improvement of some kind."
The family is hoping to raise enough money to eventually get Zach a total of three stem cell treatments, which would greatly increase his chances for recovery.
To contribute to Zach Standen's GoFundMe, click here.