At the age of 64, Arsenia Harrison was diagnosed with severe peripheral artery disease, a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs. She couldn’t walk even 100 feet, and the pain was excruciating. 

But when Arsenia gets knocked down, she’s not one to stay down.

After two major surgeries and with the possibility of amputation looming, Arsenia made the decision to return to California, seeking out a new doctor to monitor her disease. With a little luck and a lot of research, she was introduced to Dr. John Laird, and his stem cell research team at UC Davis Medical Center. After taking the preliminary test, she was accepted into his stem cell study.

“My walking was easier, and I was experiencing no serious pain or discomfort. With the support and direction of my medical team, my life began changing for the better.”

“My energy level increased, it soared. I do whatever I want to do. If I fall down, I pick myself back up, because we all have those moments when we fall.”

Today, Arsenia is a proud college graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and is looking forward to beginning her Masters program. She’s also started two businesses, returned to cross country skiing, and even tried sky diving.

“Stem cell research, like the trial I was lucky enough to be a part of, opened a new horizon for me; it could do the same for everyone else suffering from so many chronic diseases and injuries.”

Through it all, Arsenia used good cheer and sheer determination to keep her going—and she knows how important it is to inspire others to do the same.

“Hard work and stem cell research have boosted my spirits to the highest level; now, I need to reach out and touch others by becoming an Ambassador for Stem Cell Research with Americans for Cures.”

Watch Arsenia’s story in this UC Davis video: