Alaina Overcomes Spinal Stroke to Help Others

meet alaina 2018 180 medical college scholarship recipient

180 Medical’s College Scholarship Program was started by our founder Todd Brown. Since then, we proudly offer an annual scholarship award to 7 aspiring students to help finance their education goals.

Earlier this year, we announced this year’s 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. Keep watch on our blog and our Facebook for future posts featuring the rest of our amazing 2018 recipients.

So far, we’ve featured Kale and his triumph over Transverse Myelitis and Marissa and her experience of living through Ulcerative Colitis with a new ostomy.

Today, we’d love to introduce you to our next Scholarship Recipient, an inspiring young woman named Alaina!

alaina spina cord injury scholarship recipient quote

“Bad Luck” and a Rare Spinal Stroke

Throughout Alaina’s time in both junior high and high school, she worked to keep her grades up while juggling other hobbies and volunteer opportunities. She served as a children’s camp counselor every summer for 5 years and kept active in Cross Country and Spanish Club, among various other activities. She also tutored and volunteered at Hope House and the Special Olympics as a Basketball and Track Coach.

On top of that, Alaina maintained her status on the Honor Roll. She even made the school’s Century Club each year, a high honor awarded to the top 100 students with the highest GPA at her school.

Then one day, a tragedy altered her life forever. In August of 2016, a sudden sharp pain spread over her chest and back. Within just 2 hours, Alaina was paralyzed from her toes to her stomach.

One doctor explained to her and her family Alaina had suffered a rare spinal stroke. He called it “bad luck.”

Spinal stroke can occur when the blood supply to the spinal cord is somehow cut off. It occurs in less than 2% of all stroke types.

She and her family tried to stay strong when they were told that Alaina would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Her Recovery from SCI Leads to a Career Decision

Alaina standing with her decorated graduation cap.

Alaina transferred to a rehab hospital in the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network where another doctor told her she could likely walk again. Hope filled Alaina again, and she became determined to learn to walk.

Through sheer determination, Alaina worked hard to relearn how to shower and dress. During her time there, she also met and was inspired by other patients with spinal cord injuries who also went through tragic experiences yet still managed to smile and stay focused on their goals.

In just under a month after her spinal stroke, Alaina began to wiggle her toes and move her legs, then in 6 weeks post-stroke, she walked with a walker. Today, she walks with pride with the assistance of her forearm crutches.

Alaina credits the caring medical team and her primary nurse for their compassion and for giving her new hope. Because of them, Alaina has been inspired to pursue a career in nursing. Her own primary nurse cried on the day Alaina wiggled her toes for the first time.

I want to see patients reach milestones they never imagined possible. I want to be their biggest fans, to give them fantastic news, but also comfort them during the bad.
Alaina

Alaina has consistently demonstrated a drive to serve and help others, so we here at 180 Medical are so excited to see her enter the noble field of nursing. We’re sure she will be turning many lives around throughout her career!

About 180 Medical’s Scholarship Program

You can find out more about eligibility or find a scholarship application to download at www.180medical.com/scholarships.

Watch for 2019 180 Medical College Scholarship announcements coming soon! 180 Medical will begin accepting scholarship applications for the Fall of 2019 on January 1st.

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About the Author
Jessica is the Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she's been a part of the 180 family for almost 10 years. Her favorite part of working here is seeing the positive difference we make in others' lives.

She loves creative writing, listening to podcasts, discovering new music, and spending time with her loved ones (including her awesome dogs).