By Kathy Walsh
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A Colorado man wants to ride his recumbent tricycle across the country. That’s amazing because, just about three years ago, Jim Cohen couldn’t move.
He’d had a stroke and he was “locked-in,” meaning he was awake and aware but he was paralyzed and couldn’t speak.
There is no treatment and no cure for the syndrome. But Cohen battled back.
Cohen is a world-class chef. But these days, he often cheats on the prep work and he makes quick meals in an Instant Pot.
“It’s much easier for me,” he told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
In 2015, things changed dramatically for Cohen when he suffered a stroke.
“I couldn’t move. I thought I was yelling for my brother but I couldn’t make a sound,” he said.
At the University of Colorado Hospital, Dr. Joshua Seinfeld found a clot blocking blood flow to Cohen’s brain stem.
“The clock starts ticking and you’re losing brain cells every minute,” explained Seinfeld.
The neurosurgeon got the blood moving again, but the stroke caused “locked-in syndrome.” Cohen was trapped in his body.
“I kept saying to myself, ‘No fear,’” Cohen said.
He had to learn how to breathe, talk and walk again. Cohen worked hard at rehabilitation.
“I think I’m stupid and stubborn,” he said, “I made a decision… that I would do whatever was asked of me.”
And he had motivation.
“I guess to walk Lexi (his daughter) down the aisle,” Cohen said.
Nine months after his stroke, the proud dad accompanied his daughter on her wedding day.
“And now I have a granddaughter,” he said beaming.
Locked-in syndrome is rare. Cohen’s determination is impressive. Now, he wants to ride his tricycle to Buffalo, New York, his hometown. When this chef gets cooking, anything can happen.
Cohen is featured in a series of advertisements for UCHealth, giving him a platform to thank those who’ve helped him and spread the word that anyone can do anything they set their mind to.