A York County soldier left partially paralyzed when he was shot in Afghanistan about two years ago is back from China, where he underwent surgery that could allow him to regain some movement.
Matthew Hanes, a 2010 Northeastern High School graduate, said he's seen some improvement from innovative stem cell surgery to repair his spinal cord, which was damaged in the shooting.
"As of now the only difference I see is that I have feeling a bit lower down on my back than before," he said in an email.
He said it's now a waiting game to see if he regains any additional feeling or movement.
Hanes, a corporal in the Army, was shot while on patrol in Afghanistan in June 2012. He was left with limited use of his upper body and no use of his lower extremities.
Surgery: Hanes, along with his mother and his service dog's trainer, Leslie Horton, spent upward of a month in China as Hanes underwent the procedures at a Beijing hospital.
Doctors essentially performed minor surgery and used stem cell therapy to build a bridge over two vertebrae shattered when Hanes was shot.
That bridge will help re-create the flow of nerves in Hanes' spinal cord. After that, he'll undergo stem cell injections.
The procedures may take some time to show additional improvements.
"It can take up to a year to see the full results from it, so (there is) no telling until then how much I will gain from it," Hanes said. "Once that year is up I can always go back for another stem cell injection if need be."
In the meantime, Hanes is continuing his physical therapy several times a week.
Event: To help cover the costs of the trip and the treatment, the White Rose Bar & Grill will give proceeds from a July 4th event on Friday directly to Hanes.
"We like to help support any service personnel," such as members of the armed forces and first responders, said Jeremiah Anderson, the general manager of the 48 N. Beaver St. restaurant.
The event, to be held in the restaurant's parking lot from 5 to 9 p.m., will include live music, as well as food and beverages for sale.
Admission, which is to be determined by each attendee, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Hanes.
"I'm expecting a pretty good turnout," Anderson said.
Since the event was announced, numerous people have sent donations to the restaurant, he said. Those who can't make it to the event but want to donate can send checks, written out to Matthew Hanes, mailed care of Jeremiah Anderson to the White Rose at 48 N. Beaver St., York, 17401.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.