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St. Louisan stays positive after paralysis

8:34 PM, Jun 6, 2010   |    comments
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By Mike Bush

(KSDK)-Some of the strongest people can hardly move a muscle.

"He's an inspiration to all of us, " says Laurie Tanner, the CEO of Ranken-Jordan pediatric hospital.

21 year old Albert Keys is spending a lot of time these days as a motivational speaker.

"Albert definitely has a contagious personality, says Physical Therapist Annie Patton.

It's his way to give back after refusing to give up.

Albert does not remember his car accident in December of 2008. He only recalls waking up in the hospital.

"I just woke up and couldn't move, " recalls Keys.  "I couldn't breathe on my own. I couldn't talk."

A high cervical spine injury left him a quadriplegic with very little hope. Especially after overhearing a nurse talking to his parents.

"I couldn't talk at the time so I couldn't ask questions, " explained Keys. " And I interpreted her saying that that was it for me, that's how I was going to be for the rest of my life.

After three months in intensive care and two more months in a long-term care center, Albert Keys was brought to Ranken-Jordan.

"When Albert first came here he had no movement, " remembers Patton

Ranken-Jordan is a specialty pediatric hospital that takes patients in transition from hospitals to home.

"They push me hard, " laughs Keys.

For almost a year now, Albert has been getting therapy everyday.

"He gets physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, " says Patton.

When you're 6 foot 2 and nearly 300 pounds treatment takes team work. And no one works harder than Albert himself.  When the odds say no, he says, let's try again.

"I've worked at Ranken for 11 years and I've not seen someone with his determination, " says Tanner.

"It can be painful, " adds Keys. "But no pain no gain, I guess."

From no movement at all, Albert is now able to move his arms, his legs and with some assistance he's even been able to stand-up.

"I just want Albert to gain as much independence as possible, " explains Patton.

For Keys, the future now has new meaning.

"It means hope, " he says.

So now, Albert shares his experiences with others. Showing that with a strong will you can pass life's greatest test, the test of adversity.

"He shows that just your will to do something can really make a difference and really not to count yourself out of the game, " says Tanner.

Going to college, getting married and having children are still his goals.

"I wanted to do it all, " says Keys. "And I'm still going to try to."

Even when your dreams are shattered into a million pieces, Albert Keys is proving, you just have to bend down and pick them up again.

"Have a positive attitude, he says. "And try to stay motivated."







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