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Making his own miracle

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Carlos Samaan is a man looking to make his own miracle. Every day, his thoughts, prayers, money and time are devoted to something we all did without thinking – learn to walk.



At 28 years of age, a work auto accident severed Carlos’ spine at C4, leaving him with no sensation or movement below his chest and limited use of his hands. As he says, “I was young and my life was good, working and travelling around Western Australia. And then I woke up in Accident and Emergency and I have to rely on someone to care for me 24/7.”

We met Carlos’ at his home in Perth. It’s a sunlit home warmed by the smell of Turkish coffee.

Most of the lounge room is taken up by an exercise rack (nicknamed Baby Monster) and a Lokomat, which is a man-sized gait robot of mechanical arms, harnesses, a black oxygen mask and monitors.

Carlos lives with his family and his partner Monique. While he is assisted by physiotherapists and experts from a company called Neuromoves (specialising in spinal cord injuries), the daily motivation to push through the therapy is all Carlos:

“Imagine if you’re in a bed or a wheelchair, 23-hours a day”, he says. “The chance to get on that machine and walk for an hour. That’s my golden hour.”

 “What fires together, wires together.” 

Every day Carlos works to make sure that his physical condition is not what determines the rest of his life:

  • Each morning Carlos practices walking. The Lokomat gait robot he uses (the only one in Australia) is designed to retrain his nervous system, to reconnect nerves with muscles and create new pathways between the brain and the body. The robot is so complex and powerful that it takes three days to train a patient and their therapists in how to use it. The biodata it collects helps fine-tune Carlos’ treatment and plot how the technology can be used for other patients around the world.
  • Carlos travelled to Thailand this year to have an epidural stimulator inserted in his back. While we were in his home, we saw how the stimulator helped him “move” leg muscles that, without those electrical impulses, simply can’t fire.
  • He’s used stem cell therapy to regenerate the damaged nerves in his spine – to kickstart the process of recapturing sensation.

The engine room

These treatments have been funded by the compensation payout Carlos received after that fateful day in 2011. The money is managed by Perpetual.  

Chris Marshall, Carlos’ Perpetual Adviser, says, “The money is the engine room for Carlos. If we manage it well Carlos can invest these vital treatments.  Our financial plan for Carlos is about helping him pursue his health goals – and making sure he’s financially secure for the rest of his life.”

Perpetual Philanthropic Services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo), ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This publication has been prepared by PTCo and may contain information contributed by third parties. It contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with advice or take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided by PTCo in good faith. You should consider, with a financial adviser, who can provide you with the relevant Financial Services Guide, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage because of any reliance on this information. PTCo does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any wording in this document which was contributed by a third party. Any views expressed in this document are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.