An Israeli paralysed by a suicide bomb has returned to the UK after his attempts to follow a treatment plan designed to make him walk again failed.
Zion Shitrit, 24, suffered severe spinal damage after the bombing in Hadera in 2005. Doctors said the nerves in his legs were destroyed and he would never walk again.
In April, he came to the Mind Clinic in London which works with people suffering from spinal injuries. He regained feeling in his toes, stood for the first time since the injury and was told he should be walking within two years.
But Mr Shitrit, who lives with a carer in Hadera, has not progressed since and has admitted: “It’s my fault. I have been lazy.
“I can’t really complain. I find it hard to do the exercises at home because I don’t have the equipment. I have still not adapted to being in a wheelchair and if I say I have accepted it, I would be lying.
“I believe that one day I will be able to walk and I am determined to do so, but I need the extra push.”
After two two-hour sessions this week, he said he had again regained sensation, feeling a rush of blood through his legs.
“This is really encouraging. But I worry that, if I can’t keep having the treatment, then I won’t get better.”
His two trips — including the £125 per hour treatment — have been paid for by a UK charity, One Family. But Mr Shitrit says he cannot afford to stay for further sessions, or to buy equipment such as the special electric cycle used at the clinic as a physiotherapy aid.
Mind therapist Hratch Ogali said: “Zion really needs to get some of this equipment at home. He has shown very positive signs and I want to do everything I can to give him a chance. As far as I am concerned, the nerves in his legs are alive. It is a process of getting the nerves and the body to work together.”
Mr Shitrit was on his third day of work at the Hadera market when the bomb went off in 2005, killing six. He had recently finished his three-year stint as a communications officer in the army, based in the Gaza Strip. He has not been able to work since.