On May 24, 2014, Brandon Lyons sustained a severe spinal cord injury as the result of a diving accident. He was 24 years old. Brandon was on vacation celebrating a friend’s birthday when he dove head first into an area of shallow water. He suffered a T5/T6 complete spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down with less than one percent chance of walking again.
Prior to sustaining a spinal cord injury, Brandon graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Supply Chain & Information Systems Management in 2012. Following graduation, Brandon began his career as a consultant in Advisory services at EY in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Outside of work, Brandon lived a very active lifestyle between playing sports, running, and lifting weights. He was a thrill seeker partaking in activities such as skydiving and obtaining his motorcycle license the week before his injury.
Brandon’s approach to life has always been optimistic and self-motivated. Living with a spinal cord injury has not changed his philosophy on life; it has only fueled him to overcome the challenges ahead of him. Since being paralyzed on May 24, 2014, Brandon has continued to live an active lifestyle and continued to push the envelope as he did before his injury. In just five months after his injury, Brandon competed in the Marine Corps Marathon on a hand cycle. Since then he competed in the Pittsburgh Marathon, mono-skied, played sledge hockey, and joined a wheelchair basketball clinic. Brandon hopes to raise funding for a racing wheelchair to compete in track events and support the NeuroScaffold Foundation in a marathon in 2016. Brandon is committed to maintaining an active lifestyle as he did prior to his spinal cord injury. Brandon aspires to compete in a triathlon by 2016.
Brandon has never stopped working at overcoming his paralysis. He works out seven days a week with the equipment that he has at his disposal. On July 14, 2015, Brandon made the life-altering decision to follow through with a phase 1 clinical trial that has never been done before in the United States. Brandon had the fortunate opportunity to take part in the Neuralstem Human Derived Neural Stem Cell in Chronic SCI clinical trial where 1.2 million of these cells were directly injected into the area of the spinal cord injury. It is the first time that these stem cells are being injected into the spinal cord in the US.
Participating in the Neuralstem Human Derived Neural Stem Cell in Chronic SCI clinical trial is a large time commitment but even more financially. Living in Pennsylvania, Brandon is required to travel to and from San Diego, CA each month for six months for various testing and assessments. During the third month of the study, Brandon is obligated to remain in San Diego, CA for the month to attend weekly assessments. This requires Brandon to be responsible for all costs associated with traveling to San Diego, CA (e.g., airfare, lodging, rental car, food, etc.). Following the first six months, Brandon will be responsible for bi-annual visits for the next four years.
As this is a new procedure, Brandon knows the results are not guaranteed, but his motivation and determination are at an all time high. He understands he has the opportunity to not only impact his life but the millions of people living with a spinal cord injury worldwide. Brandon is excited for the opportunity that he was given and is dedicated to a full recovery, but he needs your help to benefit from the specialized therapy he is seeking. Brandon is extremely grateful for the donations and support from various investors, members of the community, family and friends. To make a donation directly to his gofundme, please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/BrandonLyons #ironlyons