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Spider bite sets miracle in motion for Mantecan

Blancarte back on his legs after 20 years as paraplegic

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Spider bite sets miracle in motion for Mantecan

David Blancarte now walks with the aid of a walker.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED March 12, 2009 4:38 a.m.
David Blancarte, 47, is on his feet for the first time since suffering major injuries in a motorcycle accident some 20 years ago.

“I can’t wait to start dancing,” he said as he looks forward to a full recovery after experiencing what some call a “true miracle.”

It was 1988 and Blancarte was working as a tattoo artist – as well as being a plasterer with his dad – in Tracy when he bought his first motorcycle.  He said he was riding on Third Street when a woman motorist made a left turn in front of him. He crashed into her vehicle and was thrown over her car and onto the pavement.

His children recently saw him walk for the first time in their lives.  They all attend Golden West School:  14-year-old twins Erica and Elizabeth and David Jr. 12.

The turn-around in his condition was ironically caused by the bite of a Recluse spider that put him in a Manteca hospital for five days.  Then he was transferred to the Kindred (rehabilitation) Hospital in Modesto where he stayed for five months.  

Blancarte said when he was evaluated at the Modesto hospital his lifeless legs were tested – actually electrically zapped by a doctor – to measure nerve function.  Not having been able to use his lower limbs for two decades, he was in awe to hear that his nerves were actually alive and could move them again.

He said he’d been in rehab previously, adding that no one was able to help him.  He had kept a close eye on Christopher Reeves, medical condition from his broken neck.  He thought if the doctors found an answer for the Superman of the movies, there could be hope in his future.  Prayer was a daily ritual for him as well – hoping his prayers would finally be answered.

Kindred social worker Cynthia Wilson said the Manteca man worked diligently through their rehabilitation efforts over four months, and he began showing great improvement.

She recalled the day his leg braces arrived.  He put them on he was able to walk on the parallel bars back and forth.  Two weeks later he was able to walk 150 feet with a walker, she said.

“For someone who was only in his 20s when he became paraplegic, he retained a good attitude—always smiling,” Wilson said.  “He has been given back his hope.  Thanks to the strong will of ‘Mr. B’ and the drive of our rehab staff, we’ve all had the pleasure of witnessing a true miracle.”

Blancarte said he now walks over 250 feet every day with his walker, and he can go up ramps and stairs.  “This is a dream come true,” he said.
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