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Mother relearns to walk for son's wedding after bicycle accident

Petrina Crabtree was injured in a bicycle crash in 2020 that damaged her spinal cord. After months of rehab and recovery she danced with her son at his wedding.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As Mother's Day quickly approaches, this year's celebration is extra sentimental for one Oldham County mother.

In a Zoom interview with University of Louisville (UofL) Health Frazier's Rehabilitation Institute, Petrina Crabtree told her story of recovery.

Crabtree was injured in a bicycle crash in July 2020. She suffered a C4 incomplete spinal cord injury, which left her nearly paralyzed. 

The mother of four soon needed multiple surgeries to correct her injuries and days of physical therapy. Her goal through the long days of recovery and rehab? Dancing at her son's wedding. 

One of Crabtree's sons was set to get married less than a year after her injury, and she was determined to dance and to celebrate with him at the special occasion. 

Through her unwavering faith in making that day and the team at UofL Health Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, Crabtree eventually reached her goal. 

"I can't even describe how wonderful... to dance with my son at his wedding," Crabtree said. "Everybody in the audience just had tears in their eyes. I mean it was just the best for everything that i went through that was the biggest accomplishment to stand up and dance with my son at his wedding."

Throughout the process of recovery, her husband brought her a medal for every milestone she met. 

Credit: UofL Health

Journeys like Crabtree's are something that never get old for her doctor at UofL Health, Camilo Castillo.

"I've been doing this for 11 years and seeing things like that I have to hold back tears," Castillo said. "Goals like Petrina's, it's amazing."

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