Singer Jesse Malin revealed that he is paralyzed from the waist down after suffering a spinal cord stroke at a restaurant in New York City last month.
The 56-year-old punk rocker told Rolling Stone that he is currently wheelchair-bound and undergoing physical therapy at a New York City rehab center.
Spinal cord strokes occur when the blood flow to the spine is blocked, which can happen because of a blood clot, plaque buildup in the arteries or bleeding in the spinal cord. The lack of blood deprives the spinal cord of oxygen and nutrients, “damaging or even killing the cells in the spinal cord,” according to Northwestern Medicine.
Some of the symptoms of spinal cord strokes include aching or weakness in the legs, sharp back pain, or burning back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Spinal cord strokes are incredibly rare, accounting for just 0.3-1% of all strokes, but can lead to paralysis and death if not treated right away, Northwestern Medicine said.
According to a fundraiser from Malin’s team through the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Malin will go through “traditional and alternative medical therapies to get him back on his feet following this very tragic diagnosis.”
The news of the spinal cord stroke comes a month after Malin announced he was canceling his upcoming U.K. and U.S. tours due to a “serious back injury.”
“This is the hardest six weeks that I’ve ever had,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m told that they don’t really understand it, and they’re not sure of the chances. The reports from the doctors have been tough, and there’s moments in the day where you want to cry, and where you’re scared. But I keep saying to myself that I can make this happen. I can recover my body.”
After undergoing multiple spinal procedures, Malin was transferred to a rehab center where he is learning how to move his body without the use of his legs and complete daily tasks before he is discharged by the end of June, according to Rolling Stone.
According to the fundraiser for Malin, his insurance won’t cover many of his expenses beyond acute care.
“Your donation can help relieve him of the added pressures associated with the enormous expense of his immediate and long-term care,” the campaign said.
Malin told Rolling Stone he has been “humbled” by his injury and admits he feels reluctant to ask for financial help.
“I always felt that we have a voice with these microphones and with these guitars and with these venues to help each other out. But it’s very hard for me to take back and be that person,” Malin told Rolling Stone. “I don’t want to be a burden, but I’m learning. Just laying here and not being able to walk, it’s very humbling.”