Patient Stephanie Maraldo Walks Again After Spine Injury


Avid hiker regains her momentum after suffering from a cavernous malformation on her spine.

Stephanie, 28, was hiking the mountains of Belize when she first lost the use of her legs.

In March 2016, Stephanie was diagnosed with a congenital cavernous malformation on her spine after losing strength in both of her legs while hiking abroad. Doctors injected her with steroids and she soon regained full mobility.

The twisted section of blood vessels, however, still remained along Stephanie’s spine.

In late 2016, she was hiking towards Mount Everest’s base camp in Nepal when she lost the use of both of her legs. The cavernous malformation had hemorrhaged, leaving her temporarily paralyzed. Stephanie was rushed to Beth Israel in Boston, where her neurosurgeon removed the twisted mass of blood vessels.Stephanie then came to us, unable to walk, to begin her rehabilitation journey.

Her Recovery

Stephanie left Northeast Rehab in mid-January, but through her hard work and the dedication of her therapists, she leaves on her own two feet with the assistance of a walker.

“From the moment we met Stephanie, we knew she was going to achieve her goal of being independent. Upon initial evaluation, Stephanie required the assistance of two people to get in and out of bed and manage her daily routine. But, that only motivated her more! Each day we would find Stephanie in her room, ready for therapy. Not only was she willing to try what was asked of her, but also challenged herself to do more.

During her second week at NRH, Stephanie achieved a major milestone – she walked with a walker. By the end of her four week inpatient stay, Stephanie had progressed to a supervised level with all activities of daily living, functional transfers, and functional mobility with a wheeled walker.

It was both a pleasure and an honor to work with Stephanie. We could not be more proud of how hard she fought to regain her independence.”

Krysten Demirgian, MS OTR/L
Erin Fabian, DPT
Dominique Heres, SPT