Stories of Hope
My name is Fran Lopes. I am 52 years old and live in Escalon, California. I attended kindergarten through high school in this small, sports orientated town of 6,000 in central California. I excelled in sports during school and was chosen as an all conference football, basketball & baseball player. I continued to participate in basketball in college. I played softball until my injury. I was a local professional motocross racer for 23 years. I married in 1983 and my daughter Melanie was born the following year.
When Melanie was 4 years old, she began riding an ATV 4 wheeler then progressed to a motorcycle at age 5. Melanie also was a good water-skier. She was able to single water-ski at age 5. We enjoyed all sports and riding together until she was 12 years old. On November 2, 1996, during a motocross race, I sustained my spinal cord injury - at T-6. As you can see, sports were a major part of my life. That is what I did and I was did it all very well. This injury took from me my main identity. My career, as supervisor at a large winery, and every activity that gave me pleasure. I really miss the physical aspects of Melanie and my relationship very much but I believe we have actually formed a really strong personal bond because of this injury.
That is the only positive effect of this injury. I hate the rest of this spinal cord injury lifestyle. The constant worry of getting a urinary tract infection - easy to get when you have this injury, and easy to destroy your kidneys or even die from, too. And the very antibiotics that relieve this condition can hospitalize you with intestinal problems. Skin problems, additional medical costs, add those to the list of things that you cannot do and places that you cannot go. Oh yeah, you won't hear me complain - I have become quite an actor. Very few people have any idea of the pain, humiliation, frustration and degradation that spinal cord injury brings into ones life, and the lives of family. I do not want anyone's pity. I want a cure.
Stem cell research holds a promise for that cure for me and the other 100,000 million people in the United States that could also benefit. Please, join me in support of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.