Paralysed man hopes stem cell therapy helps him walk
RODNEY Dahlheimer has his bags packed and his wheels ready to roll overseas thanks to the generosity of the Darling Downs.
Mr Dahlheimer and some dedicated supporters have worked tirelessly to raise the money he needs to travel overseas to receive a new stem cell treatment that might help him walk again.
"I hope to see some improvements from the stem cell injections and show people that their money has gone to good use," he said.
The 47-year-old father-of-two will visit the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama, on February 20 for the first round of treatment which will cost $49,000.
Mr Dahlheimer's partner Karen Lawrie and his two kids Isabella and Noah supported him through the tough times, helping with charity work and organising events to grant him his wish.
Ms Lawrie will accompany him on the four-week trip to help with recovery and rehabilitation.
The potentially life-changing trip wouldn't have been possible without the help of the Dalby community digging in and supporting the many fundraisers held for Mr Dahlheimer.
"We have managed to raise $30,000 from the fundraisers alone, so I can't thank the community enough for their help. It is overwhelming," he said.
Mr Dahlheimer said he was positive the treatment would work based on previous patients telling him they had started to see results.
"If there is no progress I won't dwell on it, but I do think in 10 years' time they will have an answer to completely fix stem cell regeneration," he said.
"I was a very hands-on active person before the accident so I would like to gain some quality of life back."
That active live ended one morning in February 2013 when Mr Dahlheimer was trimming a tree from a ladder at his home. The ladder slipped, leaving him paralysed from the waist down because of a spinal cord injury.
"If I could go back in time I would tie the ladder up and wear a harness," he said.
While he hopes the treatment will work it will be a long road ahead - after the first round of treatment Mr Dahlheimer will need four or more treatments costing $43,000 each.
Although Mr Dahlheimer remains optimistic he said he did have down days. "You never think something like this would happen to you but you have to move on."