Teenager who severed spinal cord takes her first steps after therapy based on will-power

A teenager who was paralysed from the neck down has taken her first steps after turning to a pioneering new therapy based mainly on will-power.

Gemma Quinn, 19, suffered a severed spinal cord in a car crash in 1992 and was told she would never walk or breathe for herself again.

However, just nine months after starting mind therapy, she has taken her first steps, ridden a bike and kicked a football.

She credits her recovery to Hratch Ogali, who calls himself a "Mind Instructor". The Jordanian-born therapist claims to help people "self-heal", by teaching them how to understand the brain. Miss Quinn, who was seven when she was paralysed, said: "It is amazing. I can't describe how I feel. All my life I've been told I can't do things and now I feel I can do anything I want, it's all within my reach.

"This treatment would not work for everybody - you need to have determination and never give up. But I am young, and I have always had plenty of determination. I hope I can show others with similar problems what can be achieved."

Miss Quinn, from Liverpool, was injured in an accident with her older sister Gillian and father, Mike. Gillian broke her back and recovered fully.

Despite her injuries, Gemma gained GCSEs and A-Levels and has worked as a model. She raised £100,000 for spinal research, and sent a letter of support to the actor Christopher Reeve when he suffered a spinal injury. In 1996 she won a Child of Courage award. Miss Quinn moved to London in February to work with Mr Ogali. He said: "It's very hard work, both emotionally and physically draining. She has worked so hard."

Miss Quinn sent a video of her progress to her parents for Mr Quinn's 44th birthday this month.

He said: "We can't believe what we are seeing. People were cynical when we started, as the treatment is so expensive, but when they have seen the video there's not a dry eye in the house."

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