Jaclyn Rabon was a schoolgirl of 16- years-old when she was involved in the horrific car accident which would change her life forever. On a starry night on 12 August 2003 she was a passenger in a vehicle which included four of her good friends. They had enjoyed an evening in the small American town of Waverley and were making their way homewards when the vehicle spun out of control in a roll -over accident.
The force of the accident flung Jacki through the back windscreen and onto the road. The injuries sustained rendered her a paraplegic as the force of landing fractured her spine at T12. She could now feel nothing below her belly button, and remained in the hospital for over a month. All the specialists who were brought in to see her said that she would never walk again.
As an active sportswoman who had excelled in volleyball, dancing and track running in her high-school in Illinois, this news was devastating to Jacki. All her plans of the volleyball scholarship faded as, when finally discharged from the hospital, this young woman had to learn to adjust to a wheelchair and re-learn such simple tasks as dressing and bathing.
After the dire predictions of all the doctors who examined her in the aftermath of the car accident, and her struggles to come to terms with her condition, Jacki Rabon could never have imagined that a mere three years later she would be back on her feet and walking with the assistance of leg braces. The teenager had resigned herself to life in a wheelchair when in April of 2004 she and her family viewed a program called The Miracle Cell which featured interviews with a Dr Carlos Lima. Dr Lima was based in Portugal and had performed successful surgery using adult stem cells on two other girls with spine injuries.
Very excited about the miracle treatment this doctor was achieving on girls just like Jacki, the Rabons contacted Dr Lima to request that she be considered for the groundbreaking treatment. Following countless medical tests, phonecalls, emails and applications, Jacki was finally accepted as a candidate. This young girl endured a long flight from the States to Dr Lima's hospital in Portugal, and on 29 October 2005, she underwent the procedure in Lisbon. A few short days after this major operation, brave Jacki returned home to begin aggressive rehab almost immediately.
A year on from the surgery, Jacki boasts of some return of feeling to her lower body, and a lot of sensation to her hips. She can walk with leg braces and crutches and experiences a heaviness and tingling in her hips constantly. This young woman continues her rehab at home and can walk independently on parallel bars or a walker - all this from a girl who was told she would 'never leave' her wheelchair.
In September 2006 Youth Defence continued its No Exceptions campaign which took place throughout the year. This campaign was not only an awareness and information campaign that stretched the length and breadth of the country, but also included lobbying of many different TDs in an attempt to ban embryo research. This campaign was also conceived for the purpose of educating people on every facet of the subject of embryonic research, a form of research which remains wholly ineffective and entirely unethical and immoral.
Through the implementation of No Exceptions, YD alerted the Irish people of the proposed plans of their government to fund embryonic research with Irish monies in certain EU states.
A main feature of No Exceptions included two public information meetings, held in Dublin and Cork during the month of October and towards the closing of the campaign. These meetings were not only an opportunity for like-minded people to get together for more information on embryonic stem cell research and its corrupt and sinister results, but promised a testimony by Jacki Rabon. Despite the constant downplaying of adult stem cell research by the scientific and media worlds, this girl attributed her cure to this moral treatment alone.
When YD first contacted Jacki about the possibility of her speaking in Ireland about her amazing treatment involving the entirely ethical adult stem cells, Jacki eagerly accepted the assignment. Through all the study she was compelled to do prior to her own operation, the teenager understands that embryonic stem cell research is morally wrong and remains anxious to alert people to this fact. Jacki fully supports the adult stem cell treatment, however, as this doesn't involve the killing of human life at any stage, of its development and as it is only where the medical successes are to be found. Jacki was very keen to be a major part of the public information meetings to instruct Ireland on embryo research and consequently arrived in Dublin on 28 September 2006.
Following her arrival just two days before, and in between interviews for various news stations and newspapers including the Evening Herald, Jacki spoke to a packed audience at Wynns Hotel in Dublin on Saturday 31 September 2006, and gave an impassioned discourse on her experiences. Her audience sat spellbound as this pretty young girl told her amazing story with a quiet earnestness born of long personal experience. Incredible footage of her progress from immediately after the operation through to the present day was shown on big projectors in the hotel as Jacki talked the audience through her advancement.
In the duration of the afternoon, Jacki also elaborated on embryonic treatment, and after the testimony, listeners had the opportunity to collect much information on various forms of adult stem cell treatment from the YD booth in the conference hall. Due to a delay in RTE Studios following an interview with Jacki for The Afternoon Show and some unforeseeable unfortunate events involving transportation, the Cork City public information meeting was regrettably rescheduled for Tuesday 3 September rather than the original date. Those attending were no less welcoming and Jacki touched yet more people with her story in that county.
Bringing Jacki Rabon to Ireland, hosted by YD as part of their No Exceptions campaign, proved to be an important means of instructing the Irish people as to the effectiveness of adult stem cell research and the immorality of destroying embryonic life.