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Fundraiser launched after rare spinal stroke

Sandra Zachary was diagnosed with a very rare spinal stroke that affects 0.3.1 per cent of those suffering from strokes, resulting in paralysis
Sandra Zachary (left) and Cheryl Wilson on Jan. 23 during their weekly visit at Royal Inland Hospital.

After losing mobility from the waist down on Nov. 23, Sandra Zachary was taken to Royal Inland Hospital by ambulance.

The 74-year-old real estate paralegal from Webber Law was diagnosed with a very rare spinal stroke that affects 0.3.1 per cent of those suffering from strokes, resulting in paralysis.

Zachary meets with a physiotherapist three times daily in an effort to learn how to navigate with severely reduced mobility.

“Spinal stroke is extremely rare. It’s a constriction of blood vessels in the spine,” said Cheryl Wilson, a friend and colleague of Zachary’s. “Hers is in the lower spine and it fries the nerves.”

Zachary was widowed by husband Larry in 2018 and has only two relatives in Kamloops — a niece and nephew.

However, staff at Royal Inland Hospital have said Zachary may need to relocate to a rehabilitation program in Vancouver to learn the essentials of living in a wheelchair for as long as may be required.

Zachary has lived in Kamloops since 1972 and has no ties to the Vancouver area. She had extended time away from work until the end of December, but has since applied for medical employment insurance with the firm’s assistance and is waiting for the application to be processed.

As a result, Wilson has created a GoFundMe page online to help Zachary with medical and relocation costs, housing and food for as long as possible.

Zachary declined to comment about her prognosis.

The goal of the fundraiser is to raise upwards of $20,000, but Wilson plans to keep the fundraiser open indefinitely as it is likely that Zachary will require help for quite some time.

“The prognosis is not great, but we pray every night for Sandra,” Wilson said, noting she visits her friend at RIH at least once a week. “She could use all the prayers she could get.”

Previously, Zachary and Wilson were longtime golf buddies who played the game faithfully every weekend and sometimes after work during the week.

The duo now stays in touch by text and phone on a regular basis, with face-to-face meetings when Zachary’s energy permits.

“She is focused on her health right now,” Wilson said, noting her friend is working incredibly hard to regain her mobility. “She is trying to think positive and stay positive.”

To make a donation or to learn more about Zachary’s medical updates, go online to and search “Sandra Zachary Medical Fund.”