Monique Hubert’s back was hurting her so badly at times she couldn’t even walk.

  • Woman uses autistic son to motivate her when running
  • After being hurt at work, she was forced to stop running
  • Thanks to a clinical trial involving stem cells, she's able to run again

Hubert has been a runner her entire life. She has her smart watch on one wrist and her motivation on the other, the symbol for autism to honor her son.

“He’s my little strength. He keeps me going,” said Hubert.

Hubert stopped running a few years ago when she got hurt. She used to work in a men’s jail. One day a fight broke out and by the end of it she was at the bottom of a dog pile.

“If I wouldn’t have had this I don’t know what I would be doing today. My situation would be completely different,” said Hubert.

What happened to Hubert is rare, but her back problem is common. Roughly half of 50 year olds have degenerative disc disease. For Hubert it was debilitating.

She had to medically retire from the Sheriff’s Department. There were days when she could barely get out of bed. It was hard being a mother to seven children while being in so much pain.

She saw a lot of doctors. One of them told her about a clinical trial he was doing.

All it took was one injection, one time, of stems cells right to her problem disc. These cells came from an adult donor’s bone marrow. They were purified and modified in a lab. It was free and it held the promise of letting her get her life back.

That was more than a year ago. Now she has the medals to prove it worked.

Hubert was lucky. After seeing dozens of specialists, she found Doctor Hyun Bae, who happened to be doing experimental treatments with Mesoblast stem cells. This clinical trial was a gamble that paid off when Hubert had nothing to lose.

Medicine shouldn’t be about luck.

“That is one great thing that the U.S. has. Yes, medicine is the most expensive here, but on the flip side one of the reasons is we invest in clinical trials,” said Dr. Bae.

It could be several more years before the final phase of testing is done. Hubert is already such a believer she’s signed herself up to donate stem cells.