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Former pro biker uses SIRI to call 911 after sudden paralysis
Pro biker turned marketing manager, Andrew Cho, is lucky to be alive after becoming suddenly paralyzed earlier this month.
Cho, 29, was in excellent health, but on Jan. 6, he began experiencing dizziness and numbness in his neck and limbs while out for dinner with friends.
After going back to his apartment to rest, he collapsed face-down. What he didn’t know was a blood vessel in his C3 and C4 vertebrae had burst. The trapped blood applied so much pressure to his spinal cord that it paralyzed him from the neck down.
His best friend believes where he fell saved his life.
Cho's phone had landed just 10 inches away from his body so he was able to drag himself to it using only his chin.
"He should have been dead. He was able to get to his phone by inching towards it. It took five tries with his tongue – but he got Siri and used voice command to call 911," Danny Brody told CTV Vancouver.
He was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital and underwent emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his back.
Just how the blood vessel burst is still unknown to doctors, and Cho remains in the spinal unit ICU at the hospital.
Cho has regained some mobility in his right side, but movement is still very limited and there is still a long road to recovery in front of him, according to his medical staff.
News of his injury quickly spread on the cycling and mountain biking site PinkBike.com. On a forum page, hundreds of commenters from Canada and the U.S., all the way to the UK, Germany, Brazil, France and Australia shared their love, prayers and fond memories.
"The mountain bike community is a tight-knit crowd, and everyone here at the office is pulling for you," Rocky Mountain Bicycles wrote in a social media post sharing the news.
"Andrew is one of the most positive guys I've ever known. Please send healing vibes his way," Andrew Sherry wrote on Facebook.
The company Cho works for, GT Bicycles, released a video with the hashtag #GotChoBack with messages of support from riders and friends from the cycling community worldwide.
Friends also set out to raise $75,000 for the medical expenses he'll incur because of the spinal cord injury, including home and vehicle modifications and personal assistance.
"He's going to have to relearn every movement. It's not going to be easy," Brody said.
"He's determined to walk out of there, and we're doing all we can to support him."
The GoFundMe page set up to collet funds for Cho surpassed its goal in just one day, raising more than $80,000.
Friends and family are "overwhelmed" with the support, and say so many people want to visit Cho in hospital Brody had to set up a Google appointment calendar.
Cho was also moved by the amount of support, which prompted a thank you video response from the hospital.
“I can’t believe all of the support that’s come in from around the world. So I just want to say thank you to every one of you guys that has contributed to the campaign and I plan on making a full recovery and getting out of here,” he said.
With files from CTV Vancouver