Second Chance

Danielle Press Crease’s care team at Jackson Health System saved her life after being injured in a boating accident off the coast of Key Biscayne in 2013. Today, she’s living life to the fullest.
Words // Sandy Lindsey | Photos // c/o Jackson Health system | June 23, 2023 | People

The world’s first procedure using Schwann cells to treat paralysis, performed in Oct. 2013 at Jackson Memorial Hospital, was a success — and the progress Danielle Press Crease has made since has been miraculous.  “To be a part of the club, ‘Accident Victim,’ is never something I would have wanted, but to be a part of the ‘Ryder Trauma Survivors Club’ is something I couldn’t be more proud of and grateful for,” she says. In Sept. 2013, Danielle sustained critical injuries in a boating accident off the coast of Key Biscayne, where her father, Charles K. Press, was Chief of Police. She was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial, where a care team saved her life. The sciatic nerve in her left leg had been completely cut and separated, causing potential paralysis. Allan Levi, MD, a UHealth neurosurgeon at Jackson Memorial, led the world’s first Phase 1 of an FDA-approved clinical trial, combining nerve grafting with Danielle’s own Schwann cells. As a result, he was able to regenerate the nerve and restore function to her leg. Over the past 10 years, Danielle has climbed mountains, explored caves in Borneo, camped in Japan, and dove with sharks. She even attended Jackson Health Foundation’s Golden Angels Gala in April, flying in from Oregon to reunite with her physicians and share her story. To help support Jackson miracles like Danielle’s, visit